Party politics was set to be removed from Alton Town Council when the authority met last night (Wednesday).
The process began at the full council meeting on November 9, when a group was set up to consider the resolutions agreed. It met in December and January and recommended the council “will become de-politicised with immediate effect”.
In a statement due to be issued if the recommendation was approved, the council said: “This decision follows the example of other leading town and parish councils, which operate successfully on a non-party political basis.
“One of the reasons behind the decision is to try to encourage candidates to stand for election who may have otherwise been put off by local politics. It is fully recognised, however, that some candidates may still wish to stand for election as representatives of a political party, as is their right, but this decision is intended to remove politics from the council as far as possible.”
The council is holding informal drop-in information events for those thinking about standing for election in Goldfinch Books at 24 High Street on February 28 from 5.30pm to 7pm, at Alton Town Hall (pictured) on March 9 from 5pm to 6.30pm, and in the lower room at Alton Assembly Rooms – or at the town hall if this is not available – on March 15 from 11am to 1pm.
The council is also preparing a guide, and the answers to frequently-asked questions, about the election process and how to become a candidate.
Taking party politics out of the council would mean a change to its standing orders and the abolition of the roles of leader, deputy leader and opposition leader, but it would still appoint a town mayor and a deputy town mayor.
The planning committee would meet monthly, while the policy and resources, community and open spaces committees would be abolished, to be replaced by a full council meeting every month except August and December.