Put your money where your mouth is

ROTHBURY residents have been criticised after calling for a parish council election but not attending meetings.

At last week’s meeting the village’s parish council heard that 10 constituents had called for a public election after a seat became vacant.

But councillors slammed the public for calling for it when they rarely attend the meetings.

Coun Murray said: “I am not 100 per cent happy about this. Ten electors have approached and asked for this but there is a distinct lack of public attendance. If these 10 people are so interested in local democracy it would have been nice to have had members of the public present.

“There has been a lack of public interest here for a number of months. There is going to be a proper election in a couple of years anyway.”

But Coun Dawson said: “Whether members of the council like a by-election or not it has been called and that is the way democracy works.”

Chairman Coun Jeff Reynalds said: “Democracy is more expensive than co-option but it is going to be fairer and more open to everybody. Last time co-option didn’t have any parameters, we just did what we thought was right, and that isn’t as open as a public election.

“I suspect that what has happened is that there is somebody quite interested in being a member who has asked some of the people they know to call for an election as they would like to stand.”

County coun Steven Bridgett added: “The county council will set a date and may combine it with any other parish or town elections. A timeline will be set and the county will ask for people who want to come forward. If one person comes forward there will be no election but if there is more than one person wishing to stand there will be a by-election.”

At the end of the meeting Coun Murray handed in his resignation from the council meaning there are now two councillor vacancies.