Shock resignations see THREE seats up for grabs in Parish Council by-election next month

Slough Borough Council has confirmed that a by-election will be held next month to elect the THREE vacant seats on Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council.  But a report in yesterday’s Slough Observer has suggested that the prospect of an election to fill the seat vacated following the death of the late Cllr K Laxman was what prompted the other two vacancies.

Five of the original 12 shared a photo-op with the Windsor Observer.

Cllrs Hood (second from left) and Angell (second from right) were photographed last year as part of a reunion of founding members.

Here we go again.  For years few of us took any interest, but next month will see the FIFTH election for Colnbrook with Poyle Parish Council since 2011 as preparations are brought forward for yet another by-election.

You could be forgiven for feeling a little election-fatigue in the run-up to Thursday, November 23rd, with a parish council election in 2011, a by-election in 2012, an election AND a by-election in 2015.   With 2014 seeing a Local but not a Parish election, and 2016 seeing an election for Police & Crime Commissioner and a referendum on a little European issue, only 2013 has been completely election free – and only then because the a by-election was avoided, following Cllr Leslie Jarrett’s resignation, when there was no public call for one.

Nobody appears willing to leave it to co-option this year.  This time around Colnbrook Views understand that at least three separate lists of ten names have been submitted to the Returning Office at Slough Borough Council, demanding an election be held.  And that appears to have caused upset – and the resignation of two of Colnbrook’s most loved councillors.  Colnbrook Parish Council posted details of the vacancies on October 10th.

2015's by-election cost the parish £6,600. Parish councillors had hoped to avoid the cost of a by-election to replace Cllr K Laxman by co-opting their own candidate. The cost of administering an election for three candidates could hit £8,000 according to Cllr Bryant.

2015’s by-election cost the parish £6,600. Parish councillors had hoped to avoid the cost of a by-election to replace Cllr K Laxman by co-opting their own candidate. The cost of administering an election for three candidates could hit £8,000 according to Cllr Bryant.

A trainee reporter at the Slough Observer has revealed that veteran councillors Peter Hood and Ray Angell, former chair and vice-chair, resigned on a point of principle at calling the election.  Both had over 23 years’ service and were instrumental in founding the parish.

Current chair Cllr Scott Bryant told the Observer:

“They have both resigned after 23 years volunteering as Parish councillors.

“Presumably they were both not happy that an election has been called. That had an effect on them, but they have been here for 23 years, and felt it was time to move on and enjoy their personal and family life.”

If we co-opt, we can receive CVs, interview them, find out more about them. Now we could get someone from outside of the village, who doesn’t know Colnbrook

The Observer suggests that the parish had hoped to co-opt someone to fill seat vacated by “K” Laxman who died in August, and quotes Cllr Bryant’s own reservations about an £8,000 cost in close proximity to the next full parish election in 2019 – as well as the possibility that those from outside the parish may step forward.  Slough Labour members are understood to be among those calling for an election.  Cllr Bryant told the paper:

“An election doesn’t give councillors time to meet potential new councillors. If we co-opt, we can receive CVs, interview them, find out more about them. Now we could get someone from outside of the village, who doesn’t know Colnbrook.”

Cllr Angell told the Observer:

“I had no intention of standing again anyway, so I thought it would be a good to get some new people in, let them see how things work before the next election. We’re having an election anyway, so it won’t cost any more.”

Cllr Hood declined to comment on his resignation.

three vacant seats

Cllrs Hood and Angell were founding members of the Parish Council, having been pivotal in bringing three disparate areas together to form the parish and ward – and lobbying Slough Borough Council to set up the parish in 1997.  They were also instrumental in raising funds for the Village Hall.

Although they have announced they are stepping down from the parish, both continue to hold other positions.  Cllr Angell sits on the Colnbrook Community Partnership and Colnbrook Village Hall Trust.  Cllr Hood represents Colnbrook on Heathrow Airport’s Local Focus Forum.  Both continue to be active within the Colnbrook Residents’ Association.

The resignations leave the parish council with just one remaining founding member, Cllr Dexter Smith.

Of course, there is still no guarantee that an election will actually be held unless candidates step forward.

 

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