Becoming a Councillor

Do you want to do more for our community?

By becoming a councillor, you could help to look after, and improve, many of the facilities in our parish. See What the Parish Council Does.

New candidates are always welcome. Several councillors have indicated that they do not intend to stand again this year, so new candidates are definitely needed.

About previous PC Elections

May 2021: The elections which should have been held in May 2020 were delayed for a year. because of the the Covid pandemic.

9 April 2016: when nominations closed, there were seven valid nominations for election to the Parish Council. Those seven candidates were therefore elected unopposed. The Parish Council needed to fill the remaining two vacant seats by co-option. See under How?

19 May 2016: After the chairman had announced at the Annual Parish Meeting on 21 April that the council wanted to fill the two vacant seats, two volunteers came forward. The Council formally co-opted them at the PC meeting on 10 May 2016.

27 March 2017: The Parish Council, at its meeting on 7 March 2017, co-opted three new councillors to fill vacancies caused by resignation.

What’s Involved?

You can spend a lot of time on council work – but most people have jobs, families and hobbies that also demand a lot of time. However, as with most things, the more you put in, the more you (and our community) will get out.

Since November 2013, our Parish Council meets 6 times a year, on the first Tuesdays of the month in January, March, May, July, September and November, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.  (Because it has to come after the elections, the May 2021 meeting will be on Tuesday 11 May).

You should also attend the Annual Parish Meeting which is usually in May after the elections.

You may be invited to join one or more of the Parish Council’s committees, which look after Highways and Byways, Planning, Playing Fields, and Finance and Admin. These committees may hold occasional meetings but work increasingly by email. Some committees need to make site visits from time to time, for example to keep an eye on play equipment or new developments.

Much of what the Council does is common sense, but we sometimes run a short introduction session for new councillors. The Hampshire Association of Local Councils (HALC) runs helpful evening sessions for parish councillors.

The  Good Councillor’s Guide 2018 booklet (from the National Association of Local Councils) has more information about the duties of a Parish Councillor.  The clerk can give you a copy of our own New Councillors’ Guide, which is based on a template from HALC.

When can I apply to become a councillor?

All nine seats on the Parish Council come up for election every four years. The elections are held on the same day as District Council elections, almost always the first Thursday in May. The elections which should have been held in 2020 were postponed until May 2021.

For details about how to stand for election to the Parish Council, see under How.

Sometimes, vacancies occur between elections, for example through resignation or moving away. These are known as “casual vacancies”. The Council must advertise the casual vacancy on the notice boards and elsewhere. Local electors have the opportunity to call for a by-election. If a by-election is not called, the Parish Council should fill the vacancy by co-option.

If there are any vacancies on the Parish Council because there were insufficient candidates in an election year, the Parish Council may immediately proceed to fill the vacant seats by co-option without having to go through the process of advertising the vacancies.

See “Part 6: Guide to filling a Casual Vacancy in the Office of Parish Councillor” of the Governance Toolkit for Parish & Town Councils, April 2009 edition

See also, for example, the November 2016 Casual Vacancy notice.

How do I apply to stand in an election or by-election?

You need to complete a fairly straightforward nomination form (available from our clerk or online- see below). Your proposer, seconder and one witness must sign it.

You’ll need to know your electoral number, and the electoral numbers of your proposer and seconder. The clerk can look this up for you.

For the May 2024 Elections, nomination papers can be delivered to the Electoral Services Unit, City Offices, Colebrook Street, Winchester on weekdays (Monday to Friday, 10.00am – 4.00pm) from Wednesday 20 March and not later than 4pm on Friday 5 April.

You can make an appointment with the Electoral Services Manager to have your nomination papers checked before submission.

How do I apply for co-option to the Parish Council?

Co-option is a less formal process than election.

The Parish Council may fill vacant seats on the Council by co-option

  1. When seats on the Council remain vacant after the four-yearly election (because there were fewer than nine valid nominations), or
  2. After a “casual vacancy” is created, for example by resignation of a councillor, and if, after the vacancy has been officially advertised, a by-election process has not been formally requested by 10 electors.

When the Parish Council has a vacancy which is it seeking to fill by co-option, if you want to put your name forward, or if you would like more information about the role, contact the Clerk .

See Casual Vacancy and Co-option Process on our Governance Documents page for details of the process. 

You must be

  1. a British subject or Irish citizen,
  2. 18 years of age or over, and
  3. either in the list of electors for the Parish or, during the whole of the preceding twelve months,

(i) have occupied land in the parish as owner or tenant, or

(ii) had your principal place of work here, or

(iii) resided in or within 4.8 kilometres of it.

Note: this is the short version. The Nomination Pack gives reasons for disqualification, which include bankruptcy and a recent prison sentence.

Other information

Our Parish Council is strictly non party-political.

Canvassing: Some candidates in our Parish Council elections choose to distribute flyers about themselves before the elections. This is not required, but you may think it helpful to make yourself known to the electors.  Bear in mind that those voting by post may cast their votes well in advance of the actual polling day. There are rules governing the costs of canvassing and leaflets, The rules are not unduly onerous, but any flyer or leaflet does need to say who published it and who printed it.

Whether or not you incur any expenses during the election, you have to complete and return the declaration of expenses form (below) within 28 days of the election.

More information and forms: You can download the nomination forms using the link below. For more information about the process or how the Council works, contact our Clerk, Lasiân Thomas-Scott . She can also tell you your electoral number, which you’ll need for the form.

Any of the current councillors would be happy to talk to you.

The first version of this page appeared in the Parish Magazine for March 2012. We updated it to reflect details of the 2016 and later elections.

Other sources:

The Electoral Commission – information for candidates at Parish Council elections

Forms and Guidance notes

Guidance for Candidates at Parish Council Elections (from the Electoral Commission)