Diss Town Council down to bare bones as six decline to stand again
Only seven nominations have been received for the 14 seats on Diss Town Council.
When the nominations for this year’s district and parish elections closed on Thursday, it was confirmed that the six councillors who were expected to stand down had given up their seats.
The departing councillors include the current mayor, Trevor Wenman, who is contesting a seat on South Norfolk Council.
The remaining seven are continuing – but it will mean the town council will now have to co-opt volunteer councillors to fill the vacancies (it already had one).
Although the town council is suffering from a shortage of candidates, it is not the case at district level, where nine candidates have been put forward for the three Diss and Roydon division seats (see right).
The Diss Express this week asked council leader Simon Olander how the council would function until it was brought up to strength, why it was thought that nobody new had come forward to fill the vacancies, and whether the lack of candidates was a reflection on the council’s standing in the town.
In a reply issued by deputy clerk Sonia French, the council said: “Diss Town Council has recently had six members decide not to stand for the May local election for their own personal reasons.
“I can confirm that we have seven councillors going forward so we are quorate [of sufficient numbers] and able to continue to make decisions and work in the best interests of residents and visitors to Diss.
“Diss Town Council is encouraging residents who are passionate about their community to put themselves forward to be co-opted as a new councillor. We would welcome any resident that is committed to making Diss a more prosperous and vibrant town.
“Town councils are led by democratically-elected councillors from the local community. Local councillors decide on what services and projects the council will deliver.
“As representatives who are closest to their communities, local councillors are best placed to engage with their residents and find out what the real local issues are and how to overcome them.”
Former town councillor Graham Minshull, who is standing again in the district elections, said he was not surprised at the lack of nominations.
He thought people could be put off from standing due to the risk of being abused on social media.
Those who were standing down included councillors who felt they had made their contribution and considered it was time for others to come forward, he said.
The seven councillors who are continuing are Sonia Browne, Neil Howard, Adrian Kitchen, Julian Mason, Simon Olander, John Robertson and Eric Taylor.
- Redenhall and Harleston Town Council will also be uncontested. Nominated are Mark Betts, Frances Bickley, Ian Broughton, Adrian Brownsea, Martyn Dutfield, Graham Trevor, Sue Kuzmic, Carolyn Malinowski and Thomas Whatling.