How to be a councillor

ASPIRING councillors have the chance to put their names down for the forthcoming local elections with seats up for grabs in all but one of Hartlepool’s 17 wards.

Nominations for the May Hartlepool Borough Council elections open on Friday, March 25, and close at noon on Monday, April 4.

There will be elections in all of the town’s wards except Elwick.

It is free to stand, but a nomination form must be collected in person from the election’s office at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.

Once complete, the nomination form must be signed by 10 people who are on the electoral roll for the ward that the candidate hopes to represent.

Candidates also have to be 18 or over, although there is no maximum age limit, and in the 12 months before the day of the election must have either lived or worked in the town or owned land or property in the town.

There is no need to make an appointment with the elections office to collect a form and there is also an election hotline available to give would-be councillors advice about the procedure.

The council has 47 councillors plus elected Mayor Stuart Drummond. There are 15 wards with three councillors and two wards, Elwick and Greatham, with one councillor each.

Only one seat is contested in each ward as the elections are held on a three-year cycle with the fourth year reserved for the Mayoral elections.

Usually councillors are elected for four years. But due to proposed changes to the ward boundaries by the Local Government Boundary Commission, there will be an all-out election next year.

The local elections will be held on Thursday, May 5, the same day as a referendum on changing the voting system and also parish council elections in Greatham and the Headland.

The criteria is slightly different for the parish elections and candidates are asked to call the elections hotline for more information.

The count will be done at Mill House Leisure Centre, in Raby Road, on the night.

Of the 16 wards, there are six Labour councillors up for election, one Conservative, three Liberal Democrats and six independent councillors.

A council spokesman said: “We would ask that anyone who would like more information about standing in the local elections to call the election team were staff will be more than happy to advise and answer any questions.”

Residents can only vote in local or national elections if they are on the Electoral Register.

The closing date for registration on the Electoral Register or for receipt of completed applications to vote by post is Thursday, April 14.

The closing date for registration by proxy, i.e. someone voting on your behalf, is Thursday, April 21.

The elections office can be contacted on (01429) 523088.

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