Resignation prompts call for new Keynsham town councillor

Published on: 03 Mar 2017

A resignation has left a vacancy on Keynsham Town Council that needs to be filled – just as Bath and North East Somerset Council withdraws funding for town and parish by-elections.

Keynsham North Ward councillor Zoe Wilkins stepped down last month meaning that either a by-election will be held if ten residents request one by Friday, March 10, or a new councillor will be chosen by present councilors, known as co-option.

Candidates for co-option must be nominated by an existing councillor and town council chair Lisa O’Brien said she will sign applications from any residents who would like to put themselves forward.

She said: “We welcome applications for co-option to fill the vacant role of town councillor from any resident in Keynsham. Our current protocol requires that these must be proposed by a serving town councillor. Therefore, I am happy to sign the nomination paper for anyone coming forward.

“Application forms can be obtained from the town clerk, asking for details of your experience and what you feel you could bring to the role.  After submission, you will be asked to present yourself to councillors for their consideration. We need members who can commit time and energy to the work of council."

Concerns have been raised over the withdrawal of funding for by-elections – estimated to cost around £2,000. Discussing the vacancy at February’s town council meeting, Labour town councillor Dave Biddleston said:  “I’m deeply concerned B&NES is not providing the money for by-elections, which significantly undermines the opportunity for democratic elections in this area.”

Former town councillor David Brassington said in a letter to Keynshamvoice the change was “detrimental” to local democracy. “There will be a pressure on a parish or town council not to widely publicise any vacancy and hope that an election would not be called by ten local electors,” he added.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the current town council vacancy can visit www.keynsham-tc.gov.uk or contact town clerk Dr Cheryl Scott on 0117 986 8683 or email townclerk@keynsham-tc.gov.uk

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