There is to be a huge shift in Haslemere’s political representation after the May 4 local elections, with a raft of the town’s longest-standing public servants set to stand down.
A full list of candidates for next month’s parish, town and borough polls is published below, with some notable absences.
Stepping away from the political arena is three-times past Haslemere mayor Melanie Odell MBE (Conservative, Haslemere North & Grayswood) after 16 years’ service, and fellow past town mayor Simon Dear (Conservative, Haslemere South) after six years. Cllr Dear is also surrendering his Waverley seat.
Former Waverley leader and the Conservative borough councillor for Haslemere East and Grayswood, Robert Knowles, is also retiring after 16 years.
And independent town councillors Nikki Barton and Kirsten Ellis (both Haslemere South) are standing down after six and four years on the town council respectively.
Also departing are Geoffrey Whitby (Lib Dem), Isabelle Cole (Lib Dem), Gary Lloyd (Green) and David Dullaway (Conservative).
However, also notable by their absence at this year’s local elections are candidates to replace the outgoing councillors.
There are 18 seats available at Haslemere Town Council this May, but the Lib Dems have put forward just 12 candidates, the Conservatives a meagre seven, Green Party three and Labour two. There are no independents.
In Haslemere West, where five seats are up for grabs, there is not a single Conservative candidate – with the local Tories seemingly prioritising the borough council, where they have put forward 49 candidates.
But there will be no election at all at many parish councils.
In Chiddingfold, just seven candidates have come forward to fill nine seats, and in Witley and Milford, there are just 13 candidates to fill 16 seats.
Across the county border, in Bramshott and Liphook, just seven candidates have put their names forward to fill the parish council’s 12 seats. Likewise in Grayshott, where just eight candidates came forward to fill ten seats.
In West Sussex, Fernhurst has seven candidates for 11 seats, Lynchmere ten for 11, Milland five for nine and Lurgashall seven for nine, while at Midhurst Town Council, just seven candidates have come forward to fill 15 seats.
The vacant seats, especially at town council level, will not stay empty for long – with the Electoral Commission advising: “If the parish council is quorate, ie at least three and at least one-third of the total seats on the council are filled, the elected councillors may co-opt councillors to fill the remaining seats.”
But the dearth of candidates has denied many electors a chance to elect their council representatives for the next four years.
Standing for election to HASLEMERE TOWN COUNCIL on May 4:
Haslemere Hindhead & Beacon Hill (four seats):
Jean Arrick (Conservative)
Malcolm Carter (Conservative)
Jerome Davidson (Lib Dems)
Susan Ryland (Green)
Conrad Waters (Lib Dems)
Haslemere North (four seats):
Alice Barker-Lomax (Conservative)
Graham Betts (Conservative)
Oli Leach (Lib Dems)
Phil Miller (Lib Dems)
David Round (Conservative)
John Weatherburn (Lib Dems)
Terry Weldon (Lib Dems)
Haslemere South (four seats):
Ann Aslam (Lib Dems)
Lesley Banfield (Lib Dems)
Tom Bridge (Conservative)
Thomas Carroll (Lib Dems)
Stephen Fry (Conservative)
Shirley Lewis (Labour)
Haslemere West (five seats):
Alastair Bayliss (Green)
Jacqueline Keen (Lib Dems)
Claire Matthes (Green)
Peter Nicholson (Lib Dems)
John Robini (Lib Dems)
Toby Westcott-White (Labour)
The Herald will publish profiles of each of the above candidates in the Thursday, April 20 edition, followed by borough candidates a week later.