Desperate plea for more Mareham-le-Fen councillors

A sign of the times? New councillors are desperately needed in Mareham le Fen.
A sign of the times? New councillors are desperately needed in Mareham le Fen.

A parish council has spent almost £1,000 of council taxpayers money setting up three elections that have failed to attract a single candidate.

There have been three vacancies on Mareham le Fen Parish Council since last autumn.

Parish councils do have the power to co-opt new members.

However, it is not an option in Mareham after ten parishioners signed a petition which means an election has to be called.

As a result, the parish council has attempted to hold an election three times.

No-one, though, has come forward, so the elections haven’t gone ahead.

But on each occasion, the council has been left with a bill for over £300 to cover administrative costs.

And the council has confirmed that process could continue until the next planned parish elections in 2019.

Now, the council has turned to the News for help and appealed for candidates to come forward.

In a further twist, the council is hoping just three people put themselves forward to fill the three vacancies.

Any more than three candidates would lead to a full election which would cost the council at least £3,500.

Parish clerk Susan Hendy said she could not understand why people had not come forward.

She added: “It’s a nice village - a friendly village. It’s not a big commitment - a meeting once a month. It is a chance to put something back into the community.”

The cost of elections used to be covered by district councils but regulations mean the responsibility has been handed to town and parishes.

Mrs Hendy admitted there had been ‘some controversy’ over a new village hall but that had ‘died down’.

She said that the council had been told it can’t permanently reduce the number of councillors from nine to six, until after the elections in 2019.

The criteria for councillors means people must either live in Mareham or own a local business .

Details are available from 01790 754170 or email: clerk.marehamlefenpc@gmail.com