Norfolk village council in ‘limbo’ after not enough candidates step forward for election
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A Norfolk village is facing “limbo” after not enough candidates stepped forward to take part in the upcoming parish council elections, a local councillor has said.
So far three candidates have applied to contest the election on May 2 in Hopton, a village with a population of 2,000 people, but a minimum of four councillors is required for a council to proceed.
There are 11 seats on the village’s parish council and currently eight sitting councillors.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council is currently liaising with Hopton’s parish clerk to arrange a re-run of the election, which must take place within 35 days of the original date.
It is hoped a fourth candidate will step forward during the interim.
However, Ian Constable, current chairman of the parish council and one of the three candidates, has said that instead of re-running the election the borough council should appoint a district councillor to temporarily fill in the vacancy.
The Local Government Act 1972 includes that option - but the borough council has said that there would first be a second re-run if a fourth candidate has still failed to step forward.
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The council said: “The national advice is that a minimum of two re-runs of a parish election would be desirable before a district council considers whether or not to use powers under the Local Government Act 1972 to appoint persons to fill all or any parish council vacancies until other parish councillors are elected and take up office.”
Mr Constable said that re-running the election is “pointless”.
“I think this is one more reason a lot of people are disillusioned with the political system, from the House of Commons down to parish councils,” he said.
“It puts everything into limbo.
“There are events and activities lined up for the year and the longer it takes for this to be rectified how do we run the events? It puts the events into doubt.”
One such event is a Proms in the Park, scheduled for July.
Mr Constable said: “The event is free but it still has to have parish council to do paperwork necessary and make sure the event is organised correctly.”
He said the problem with re-running the election, possibly twice, puts the parish council’s ability make decisions into “limbo”.