Harleston braced for first town council election in decades

VILLAGE SIGNS - HARLESTON
VILLAGE SIGNS - HARLESTON

A South Norfolk town council is facing its first election in more than three decades.

Redenhall with Harleston Town Council can have as many as 11 councillors – currently, it has eight, following the resignation of its chairman Barry Woods on Wednesday night (turn to page 7).

This is the way democracy works. It is an expense that needs to be borne

Richard Joselyn, Redenhall with Harleston Town Councillor

Prospective candidates can be co-opted on to a town council when a space becomes available, with town councillors choosing a new member to fill a vacancy.

But, if 10 electors sign a document, a by-election can be called for parish and town councils to fill the slot.

That means the vacancy can now only be filled through an election.

The vacancy will be advertised – and, if no one comes forward, it will be readvertised.

The process will repeat until someone comes forward, or until the next local elections, scheduled for 2019.

If one person puts their name forward, there will not be an election. But, if two or more come forward to fill the role, it will be the electors of Redenhall and Harleston who will decide who will join the council.

This method was triggered in Stoke Holy Cross in February, and Easton in 2015.

The deadline for nominations is September 8. The latest the election can be held is October 5.

The election will be facilitated by South Norfolk Council – but it is Redenhall with Harleston Town Council which will foot the bill. It is thought it will cost about £4,000.

Former chairman Mr Woods, speaking before his resignation, said: “Redenhall with Harleston Town Council has managed with co-opting councillors for 30 years, but 10 people out of about 4,500 have decided it is not good enough. So we will have an election, regardless of the cost to the other people”

Councillor Richard Joselyn, speaking at Wednesday’s council meeting, added: “This is the way democracy works. It is an expense that needs to be borne.”