Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services Team
Note: This extraordinary meeting of the Full Council will commence at 6.45pm or at the rising of the preceeding meeting (whichever is the latest).
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillors Everitt, Dr Hall and Morton
To receive any declarations of interest by members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest; please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.
No declarations of pecuniary or significant other interest were made.
To consider and if thought fit, to approve the recommendations set out in the associated report.
Councillor Dawlings Moved, and Councillor Knight seconded, a motion for the Council to move to whole council elections, meaning and electoral cycle of one election every four years, with all councillors being elected and the first election under the new system being held in 2024.
The mayor noted that if the motion was not carried by at least a two-thirds majority, the council would retain the current elections by thirds.
Debate included –
In favour of whole council elections
· All out will smaller wards to come closer to the electorate
· 64% of the electorate supported the motion as well as a large number of Parishes
· Significant cost saving
· All out elections will bring the council in line with other with nation government and other organisations
· 2 member wards will be more representative and enable greater accountability, which has to be good for democracy.
· It also helps the independents councillors and those who work hard for their communities against those just standing on the party ticket.
· All out enables significant development to be made and communities to see real impacts delivered.
· Communities cannot be properly represented with third elections, meaning some communities will lose their voice and not be heard and truly achieve electoral fairness.
· Parishes will be split and left unsupported.
· All out elections will bring the Council in Line with other government bodies.
· Community interests need protecting and this can only be achieved with all outs.
· Residences have supported the all outs due to its cost savings.
In favour of elections by thirds:
· Keeps members more focused on the wishes of electors.
· Other councils with whole-council elections had a greater number of uncontested seats.
· Has hidden cost-savings as a result of fewer public contacts, fewer by-elections, easier ballot counting and the maintenance of knowledge in election officials.
· Residents are not aware of what Ward/Parish they live in and little know who their Councillors are.
· Large wards are not very well represented
· A blend of experience and new thinking and voting by thirds allows this
· When people want change they do not always want to wait four years for this to happen.
The mayor took a recorded vote
Members who voted for the motion: Councillors Allen, Atwood, Bailey, Barrington-King, Bland, Dawlings, Fairweather, Goodship, Hayward, Hill, Holden, Knight, Lewis, March, McMillan, Moon, Neville, Ms Palmer, Patterson, Poile, Pope, Roberts, Sankey, Wakeman, Warne, White. ( 26)
Members who voted against the motion: Atkins, Barrass, Britcher-Allen, Brice, Chapelard, Ellis, Fitzsimmons, Funnell, Hall, Hickey, Johnson, Le Page, Lidstone, Pound, Rands, Rogers, Rutland, Willis, Wormington. (19)
To authorise the Common Seal of the Council to be affixed to any contract, minute, notice or other document arising out of the minutes, or pursuant to any delegation, authority or power conferred by the Council.
RESOLVED – That the Common Seal of the Council be affixed to any contract, minute, notice or other document arising out of the minutes or pursuant to any delegation, authority or power conferred by the Council.