Harleston could face double by-election

Harleston, Norfolk. Views of Harleston - Harleston Town Sign on the Market Place
Harleston, Norfolk. Views of Harleston - Harleston Town Sign on the Market Place

A second vacant position at Redenhall with Harleston Town Council has been ‘locked’ into by-election rules.

The council can have as many as 11 councillors – but three positions are now vacant, following the resignation of its chairman, Barry Woods, who quit during a meeting in August.

Former chairman of Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, Barry Woods.

Former chairman of Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, Barry Woods.

The Diss Express reported last month the council was facing its first election in more than three decades later this year.

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.

This had been done for one vacant slot – but South Norfolk Council confirmed it could now be a double election. The elections are due to take place on October 5. Nominations to stand must be received by 4pm on Friday, September 8.

While South Norfolk Council facilitate the election, the costs fall on the town council. It was believed it could cost up to £4,000.

It is a shame but it is democracy and it is a legal process, so we have to get on with it, but there is costs to the public purse that you would not normally have if you co-opted people onto the council

Frances Bickley, acting chairman, Redenhall with Harleston Town Council

Acting chairman of Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, Frances Bickley, said: “It bothers me that we are spending money that we don’t need to, that we should not need to spend, because the council has quite happily co-opted people onto the council.

“It is a shame but it is democracy and it is a legal process, so we have to get on with it, but there is costs to the public purse that you would not normally have if you co-opted people onto the council.”

For more see www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/redenhall-harleston-election