Key by-election will be hotly contested

Green Party Cllr Wendy Turner , Thurston ward. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Green Party Cllr Wendy Turner , Thurston ward - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The by-election for a key Mid Suffolk District Council seat in Thurston will take place on February 17.

Green councillor Wendy Turner stepped down from her elected role shortly before Christmas to complete a move to Sheffield to be nearer her family.

It has prompted a by-election for a new councillor in Thurston, which is set to be a hotly-contested battleground at the politically deadlocked authority.

A notice of by-election is due to be published on Thursday, January 13 which will formally open the nominations process, with Thurston residents taking to the polls on February 17.

Following the 2019 local elections, the opposition Green and Liberal Democrat alliance held 17 seats – 12 Green and five Lib Dems (including Wendy Turner’s seat prior to Christmas), while the 16 Conservatives and one Independent united to form an administration.

But the numerical split means the administration relies on the casting vote of the Conservative council chairman to see split decisions across the line.

If the Greens retain the seat in the by-election existing the political split will remain, but if the Conservatives win it will secure the overall majority without needing a casting vote.

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The Thurston ward is a two-seat ward with the other seat belonging to Conservative Harry Richardson, further suggesting a close contest is on the cards again.

It represents the first by-election at Mid Suffolk since the 2019 polls.

A list of candidates standing will be published before the end of January.

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