Reducing burden on small councils

The council is concerned that small parishes may face an ‘unacceptable burden’ if a by-election is called.

A report to Tuesday’s meeting of the county council’s economic prosperity & strategic services overview and scrutiny committee explained that the cost of a parish by-election ranges from a minimum of £1,200 to about £5,000 depending upon the size of the electorate and the number of postal voters.

In the county, 45 of the parishes have an electorate of less than 250 with an average precept of £1,880.

The report suggests a number of means of support for the parishes including full or part grants and loans.

But this would raise issues of affordability even if limited to the smaller parishes, as each election would cost in the region of £1,500.

Another concern is taxpayers in the county as a whole subsiding the election costs of individual parishes.