The Parish Council is elected every four years. The recent elections for Bishopstoke Parish Council were due to be in May 2020 but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the national lockdown, these elections were put back to May 2021. This meant that those elected in 2016 had their terms of office extended from four years to five. Councillors elected in May 2021 will serve for just three years and then from 2024 the election cycle will be back on track.
The results of a Community Governance Review were put into effect for the most recent elections. As Bishopstoke has grown since the forming of the Parish Council it was felt appropriate to increase the number of Councillors and this also gave an opportunity to look at the different wards within Bishopstoke. From May 2021 there are 5 wards in Bishopstoke. Each ward elects 3 Councillors giving 15 in total. The wards have been arranged so that they have roughly the same number of electors in them, so that everyone from the same street will now vote in the same ward, and so that each ward has its own, dedicated, polling station. You can see which new wards each road is in by clicking here.
In normal circumstances should a vacancy appear on the Parish Council the Borough Council elections officer would be notified and notices would be displayed on the Parish noticeboards and on the website stating that a vacancy exists. There is then a period of 14 days, not including bank holidays and weekends, where electors of Bishopstoke can contact the Borough Council to request a by-election. If 10 or more electors do this then a by-election will be called in the normal way. If fewer than 10 electors contact the Borough Council then there is no by-election and instead the Parish has the chance to fill the vacancy by a process known as co-option.
If a vacancy is created with less than 6 months to go until the next elections, then the vacancy is simply filled at the next election.
If there is a vacancy on the Parish Council and there is no call for a by-election then the Parish is able to co-opt someone to fill the vacancy. Adverts will be placed on noticeboards and anyone interested will be invited to apply to be on the Council. At a specified meeting the Council will discuss the merits of all those who have been put forward to fill the vacancy and votes will be held amongst Council members to decide who to appoint. Once a decision has been made, that person will be invited to take up the vacancy and become a Parish Councillor. If no candidates comes forward to fill the vacancy then it is left open until such a time as someone expresses an interest in filling it.
BECOMING A COUNCILLOR
Why be a Councillor? All politics is the same isn’t it? Well actually, it isn’t. Your parish council is the part of government that makes the most difference to the area and people it represents. It isn’t distant decisions taken by distant people that you can mostly ignore.
Bishopstoke Parish Council runs the play areas, the Cemetery, the allotments. We manage Glebe Meadow and Brookfield open space. We give grants to local community groups. We provide travel tokens for those who don’t have a car and can’t use a bus to help them get out a bit more. We help run the Carnival and want to make it bigger. We run the Memorial Hall and want to rebuild it. We are helping put through the Neighbourhood Plan that will give residents of Bishopstoke more of a say in how our village is treated by developers who want to build here.
Whether you have a young family or elderly relatives; whether you want to grow your own veg for the year or flowers for the family; whether you want to run a community group or just take part; Bishopstoke Parish Council will be part of what you do.
So why not be a part of Bishopstoke Parish Council?
Help us make the decisions that shape our local community. Help us provide our community what it needs to flourish.
If you’re over 18, live or work within 3 miles of Bishopstoke and are interested then you can be a Councillor. You will need to be nominated and proposed by two other electors who also live in Bishopstoke. And that’s it. You don’t need to be in a political party, or part of a group – you just need to be local and interested.
If being a Councillor isn’t for you, but you know someone else who you think would be a great advocate for Bishopstoke then perhaps you could suggest they stand, and even nominate them.
And whatever you do, vote. More than any other part of government, a Parish Council responds to local needs and is made up of local people. People like you. So take part, either as a potential Councillor or as a voter, but make sure you have your say in your community.