Elections 2015: Call to play a part in Bourne political scene
People have been urged to play a part in local politics after a shortage of candidates for town and parish councils was revealed.
Voters will go to the polls on May 7 to decide who will represent them at national, regional and local levels.
But in many towns and villages across the area they will have no choice. More than 40 town and parish council elections in South Kesteven will be uncontested due to a shortage of candidates.
Most of these are smaller rural councils. But Bourne Town Councils is among those to be uncontested. The council is split into four wards and in each of those there are not enough candidates to warrant an election.
In the new Bourne Austerby ward, no-one is standing for election.
Linda Neal, who previously sat on Bourne Town Council and is also a serving South Kesteven District Councillor, encouraged people with an interest in their town to get involved in local politics.
She said: “It’s really interesting work. Although you live in your community, you do get to learn a lot about what’s going on that you wouldn’t necessarily hear about. I would encourage anyone who feels community-spirited to get involved and have a try. It’s not for everyone but most people find that they really enjoy the work.”
Councils with a shortage of members after the elections on May 7 will have to begin the process of co-option to fill their vacant seats. People can apply to sit on the council, and the existing councillors will then decide who to co-opt.
This fills the council, but takes out the democratic selection process.
Bourne town clerk Nelly Jacobs has already started advertising the five vacant seats out of 15 on Bourne Town Council.
People can join the council as long as they meet the at least one of the following criteria:
- Registered as a local government elector of the parish (Cawthorpe, Dyke, Twenty and Bourne).
- Has been a tenant or owner of any land or other premises in the parish during the 12 months.
- Has had their principal or only place of work in the previous 12 months in the parish.
- Has lived either in the Parish or within three miles thereof during the previous 12 months.
People who want to stand for co-option should write to the town clerk at SK Community Point, 3 Abbey Road, Bourne, PE10 9EF, or on firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 15, with their reasons for wishing to become a councillor.