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February By-elections Scheduled to Fill Vacant Seats at Ash Wharf and Normandy 

Published on: 7 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 10 Jan, 2022

By David Reading

Former parish councillor Ed Schofield

Ash Wharf voters will be going to the polls next month to elect a parish councillor to fill the vacancy left by Cllr Ed Schofield, who resigned in November. 

The by-election for the Ash Wharf Ward will be held on Thursday, February 10, and anyone wishing to stand must submit their nomination to Guildford Borough Council by Friday, January 14.

Ash Parish Council is at present dominated by Conservatives under the chairmanship of Cllr Nigel Manning, with only one non-Tory member on the council. Cllr Carla Morson, a Lib Dem supporter, was elected as an Independent in May 2020 following the resignation of Conservative Graham Eyre.

The formal notice of election published by Guildford Borough Council

Under the rules, at least ten people must request an election before one can be held, otherwise the council can co-opt a member of their choosing. The number of people requesting an election to appoint a replacement for Mr Schofield exceeded that figure.

The election will go ahead so long as there is more than one valid nomination. If not, the person nominated will be elected unopposed.

Completed nomination papers must be delivered by hand to the returning office at room G03 at the GBC offices in Millmead, Guildford. Anyone wishing to stand can obtain a nomination paper from the same department.

Mr Schofield resigned from the parish council because of the pressure of his work commitments.

He told The Dragon at the time: “My main purpose as a councillor has been to help the community rather than to follow any political agenda and because I have many business commitments, which take up a lot of my time, it’s best that someone else has the chance to take over.”

Ash Parish Council’s last meeting, which had been scheduled for December 13, was cancelled at short notice because of the assessed risk of Covid infection.

The next meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 12, at 6.30pm. Because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the council is restricting the number of members of the public who can be present, and anyone wishing to attend must contact the Parish Office on 01252 328287 or email office@ashpcsurrey.gov.uk to reserve a seat.

The status of two councillors who have not attended a meeting in person for over six months remains unconfirmed. Tony and Helen Gorham moved away from Ash to Wiltshire in September 2019 but have continued as parish councillors.

Despite an apparently explicit judgement by the High Court the ministry responsible, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and GBC’s monitoring officer, who has a role in overseeing parish council matters, have declined to say whether the two Conservative councillors remain qualified following their long period of physical absence. If they were disqualified or resigned further by-elections, if more than ten electors requested it, would have to be held.

See previous Ash Parish Council stories here

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