Election called to fill two town council vacancies

Following the resignation of two Horncastle Town Councillors, an election has been called to fill the vacancies.

Stanhope Hall.
Stanhope Hall.

It was reported last month that former councillors Richard Barker and Al Lockwood handed in letters of resignation, seen by the Horncastle News, to the town council.

Mr Barker had been put forward for chairman by Mr Lockwood during last week’s full council meeting as then-chairman Fiona Martin was stepping down.

However, he lost out to new chairman Coun Brian Burbidge, four votes to five.

In their letters of resignation, both former councillors called for change in next year’s council elections, while stating the council’s voting system continued to see votes for the “same” individuals into chairmanships.

Their resignation has now led to East Lindsey District Council to call an election to fill the two vacancies on the town council which could incur costs of £50 for an uncontested election or as much as £6,500 for a contested election.

As there are two vacancies, if two people stand for election then it will be classed as an uncontested election and they will automatically be elected onto the Council at the election date.

However, if three or more candidates stand, then this will mean a contested election, and voting will take place at both the Community Centre and Stanhope Hall on election day.

Once an election is called, then the vacancies must be filled by election, so if not enough candidates come forward by the nomination deadline date, ELDC will continue issuing new notices and advertising the vacancies until they are filled.

A Horncastle Town Council spokesman said the council has reserves to pay for an election, but the members were hoping not to use it as elections will be held in May 2023, where all members have to be re-elected again:

"New people will also have the chance to stand, so if we have more candidates than seats in May 2023, we will be facing another bill for approximately £4,500.”

The election date has not yet been confirmed. Anyone wishing to apply to become a town councillor will need to complete nomination papers and stand for election, which are available from the town council office.