Dorset

'Too few' candidates for Dorset's parish councils

Purse Caundle Image copyright Google
Image caption Purse Caundle is one of 20 parishes where no one has put their name forward

Some of Dorset's parish councils may not be able to function from next month because they have failed to attract enough candidates for elections.

At least 130 of 163 parishes and towns in the Dorset Council area do not have enough candidates for the 2 May polls, while 20 have no candidates at all.

Some areas will go to the polls in June if enough volunteers are found, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Others may continue without elections if they find the legal minimum number.

In the neighbouring Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area, where there are three parish councils, only one parish ward - Highcliffe, in the newly-formed Highcliffe and Walkford Neighbourhood Council - will hold elections, because the others have the same number or fewer nominees to seats.

In the Dorset Council area, the parishes with insufficient candidates include Bradford Peverell, Chettle, Compton Valence, Margaret Marsh, Marnhull, Purse Caundle, Tarrant Crawford, Tincleton, Toller Fratrum, Up Cerne and Winterborne Came.

All of the parish councils are currently operating with sufficient councillors.

'Unable to function'

Jacqui Andrews, of Dorset Council's democratic and electoral services, said the number of not-contested seats was usual for Dorset and reflected the national situation.

She said: "We have a number of parishes for which we have received no nominations or insufficient to constitute a legally formed parish council.

"This means that there will be no councillors on 7 May 2019 when the sitting councillors retire and the council will be unable to function."

Chief executive of Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils Hilary Trevorah said "an impressive" 1,500 people had stepped forward to serve as town or parish councillors across the Dorset Council area.

Ms Trevorah said she hoped people will volunteer to fill the vacancies, saying "it is now more important than ever to become a parish or town councillor".

Elsewhere in Shropshire, people will be unable to vote in the local elections due to uncontested seats in 35 out of the 67 town and parish council wards in Telford and Wrekin.

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