At the Full Council meeting of Hedge End Town Council on 16th April, the Resignation of Cllr Peter Hughes was announced by the Town Clerk. Following the resignation of Cllr Caitlin Bloom, announced on 3rd April, this means that there are now two vacancies on Hedge End Town Council.
A by-election has now been called for the vacancy in Grange Park East, but if you want to stand for this seat you will need to act quickly. The 10 signatures that are needed to force a by-election were delivered to the Returning Officer very quickly, with the ‘co-option notice’ being superseded by a ‘notice of election’ on 11th April. The closing date for nominations for the Grange Park East by-election is now 24th April, which is a few days before the original ‘co-option notice’ was due to expire [28th April]. Anybody who is busy collecting signatures for the Grange Park East ‘co-option notice’ over Easter, will need to stop doing that now, and concentrate on getting their nomination papers in. If nobody challenges the Lib Dem candidate in the Grange Park East ward, it will be an uncontested election and the sole candidate will be returned by default.
As usual, the ‘notice of election’ for the Grange Park East by-election is formally published on the Hedge End Town Council website, though visitors could perhaps be excused for not noticing that the announcement about Cllr Caitlin Blooms resignation has evolved from a ‘co-option notice’ into a ‘notice of election’.
The ‘co-option notice’ for the latest vacancy, in Hedge End St Johns, was issued on 16th April, but does not appear on the Hedge End Town Council website at the moment. The reasons for that omission are unknown, but it will clearly not be seen by visitors to the HETC website over Easter.
The ‘co-option notice’ for the St Johns ward does however appear on the notice board outside the Town Council Offices at the 2000 Centre and on other notice boards around the Town.
Dated 16th April, that means that residents of the St Johns ward in Hedge End theoretically have until Friday 9th May to collect the 10 signatures that are needed to force a by-election, and deliver them to the Returning Officer at Eastleigh Borough Council.
The Grange Park East by-election, if it is contested, is scheduled to take place on 22nd May, the same day as the Euro elections.
At this time, there is no formal ‘notice of election’ for Hedge End St Johns, but with clear advantage in holding all of these by-elections on the same date, it is possible that a ‘notice of election’ might be issued early next week, leaving very little time for potential candidates to get their nomination papers in.
However, with the Election-timetable for the 2014 Local Government elections requiring that the ‘notice of election’ be issued no later than Monday 14th April, Cllr P. Hughes resignation from Hedge End Town Council has happened a couple of days too late to be included with the other polling on 22nd May. If a by-election is forced in Hedge End St Johns, it would appear that now has to happen after the EU and Local Government elections on 22nd May…
By comparison, the ‘notice of election’ for the vacancy in Hedge End Grange Park East, caused by the resignation of Cllr C. Bloom was issued on 11th April, so was perfectly timed for the Lib Dems.