Haslemere Town Council is facing the unusual situation of having to fill a vacancy for a town councillor just weeks after the last local elections.
As no candidates put their names forward to fill the newly-formed seat in the Nutcombe ward ahead of the May 4 polls, the town council will now fill this vacancy through co-option.
That’s is a method where the council itself selects a candidate to fill a vacant seat. To be eligible for the position, a person must meet specific requirements.
They need to be a British, Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland or European Union citizen and be at least 18 years old on the day of their nomination and on the day of the election. Additionally, they must fulfil at least one of the following criteria:
- Be registered on the electoral register for the parish at the time of nomination and continue to be registered throughout their term.
- Have owned or rented land or premises in the parish for the entire 12 months leading up to the nomination.
- Have their primary or only place of work located in the parish for the entire 12 months prior to the nomination.
- Have lived in the parish or within three miles of it for the whole 12 months preceding the nomination.
Apart from the first qualification, which must be maintained throughout the term of office, all other qualifications must be met during the period covering nomination and election.
However, certain individuals are disqualified from standing for election. This includes paid officers of the council, such as clerks, as well as bankrupt individuals and those who have been sentenced to imprisonment within the five years preceding the election.
Interested individuals who meet the eligibility criteria can obtain application forms from the town clerk at High Street, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 2HG. The forms must be proposed and seconded by two electors from the town’s electoral area. The town clerk can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by phone at 01428 654305.
The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, June 2. An extraordinary council meeting will be scheduled for early June, during which the candidates will be invited to attend and present their statements to the council, explaining why they should be elected. Following the statements, the council members will vote to elect the new town councillor.
Lisa O’Sullivan, the town clerk of Haslemere, will oversee the co-option process. The town council is keen to fill the vacancy promptly to ensure effective representation for the Nutcombe ward within the council’s decision-making process.