Dedham: 19 new candidates after original election result scrapped

NINETEEN people are vying for seats on a parish council after an administrative error declared its election results null and void.

Dedham was left without any councillors after it emerged the nine candidates elected on May 3 had not signed acceptance declaration forms by the May 9 deadline.

The discovery was made by one of the newly-elected councillors, Sheila Beeton, who said she noticed certain anomalies at the first council meeting. After doing some research, she found the council had not been complying with its statutory requirements and wrote to the Chairman.

A letter from the Monitoring Officer at Colchester Borough Council soon followed which said the election was invalid. Candidates were invited to put their names forward by August 2 and if none of the original members were opposed another election would not need to take place.

Yesterday, 19 names had been submitted, including 11 new candidates. Council chairman Roy Laverick has decided to step down due to ill health, along with two others.

The second poll will be held on August 30 and cost the parish council �1,000.

Ms Beeton said she hoped the election would “shake things up.”

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“I was concerned about a number of things in terms of how the council was being run and not following statutory procedures,” she said. “I think this is a good thing – it’s a celebration for the democratic process.

“I wanted to shake things up a bit and encouraged people in the village to stand so we are going to fight to win. There’s a worry that there could be a divide on the council between the old and the new, but we would do our best to work with everyone who is elected. Even if I am not on the new council, as long as there is some fresh blood committed to doing the right thing for the village that would be good.”

Outgoing chairman Mr Laverick said: “We were very embarrassed by the error but I wish the new council all the best. I think a balance between old and new would be the ideal scenario.

“I will be writing to people in the village to thank them for all the help they have rendered over the years.”

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