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Princes Risborough Cllr: By-election cost could raise council tax or cancel festival
A TOWN councillor has warned that an annual festival may have to be scrapped due to the cost of a by-election which has been called in Princes Risborough.
Cllr Gary Hall, who is currently Mayor and chairman of Princes Risborough Town Council, said he is "very concerned" about the cost of a by-election .
Following the resignation of long serving town councillor, Eunice Clifford, 21 people wrote to Wycombe District Council calling for the vote.
A by-election may be called by ten electors for the relevant parish council as long as the requests are received within 14 working days of the notice of vacancy being published. No specific reason has to be given.
But Cllr Hall said they haven't had a by-election for about 30 years and a new councillor is normally voted in by fellow councillors (co-opted) during a term.
He said it is going to cost the town council an estimated £8,000.
Cllr Hall said: "This isn't budgeted for. It will have to come from somewhere within our budget or reserves.
"Either we put the council tax up, which we haven't done for years, or something like the festival will have to go."
He said he was very concerned that the people calling for a by-election did so before any candidates were put forward.
The Free Press requested to see the 21 names, which are listed below.
Last May in the town council election there were 25 candidates, of which 13 were elected.
Of the 21 names calling for a by-election Iain McLauchlan was the only one that stood in the election last year. Mr McLauchlan said he does not believe co-option is transparent enough.
He said: "Mainly I feel the people of Risborough need a say on who they choose to be on the town council as opposed to just the town councillors selecting whoever they feel they want to."
Mr McLauchlan intends to stand again. He said he went around the town and spoke to people he thought would be willing to support a by-election.
He said he was under the impression that the town council had reserves for contingencies like this.
Town cllr Bill Bendyshe-Brown said: "I wonder who Gary Hall thinks he is to try and deny Princes Risborough residents their vote.
"It is almost Stalinistic what he is trying to do at the moment.
"He thinks the town council should choose a councillor but that is not a democracy."
He said the council has reserves to pay for the election and the annual town festival will not be cancelled, as funding also comes from other avenues.
Wycombe District Council spokesman Nick Sykes said: "There is no standard cost for a by-election – it will depend on how big the parish is, how many electors, how many polling stations/staff, how many postal votes, whether poll cards are issued etc (the only decision the parish council has the authority to make is to whether poll-cards are issued)."
A by-election will be held on September 13. A formal notice of election will be published towards the beginning of August. Nominations will be accepted from the day after the notice is published, and will close at 12pm on August 16.
The following people requested a by-election.
- Angela Adlam
- Lance Adlam
- Trevor Fitch
- Carol Fitch
- L Hodgkinson
- Geoffrey Bending
- Leonard Blake
- Judith Bunting
- Frederick Fuller
- C. Jordan
- Norman Lucas
- Iain McLauchlan
- Peter Rainbow
- Frances Thomas-Davies
- J.T. Thomas-Davies
- Derek Wetter
- Elayne Barnard
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