A third of council seats to be vacant

WITH 18-year-olds now eligible to stand for election, both Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are expected to field young candidates in May 3 s district and parish council elections. One third of Huntingdonshire District Council seats are about to

WITH 18-year-olds now eligible to stand for election, both Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are expected to field young candidates in May 3's district and parish council elections.

One third of Huntingdonshire District Council seats are about to become vacant, and there are full elections for Huntingdon and St Neots Town Councils and 33 parishes.

In practice, few of the parishes are likely to need elections, with more seats than candidates in many villages.

The Returning Officer, HDC chief executive David Monks - one of the country's leading experts on electoral law and practice - gave notice of the elections formally yesterday (Tuesday). Nomination papers must be returned by noon on April 4.

HDC seats will be contested in these wards: Brampton, Earith, Ellington, Fenstanton, Gransden & The Offords, Huntingdon East, Huntingdon North, Huntingdon West, Kimbolton & Staughton, Ramsey, St Neots Eaton Ford, St Neots Eaton Socon, St Neots Eynesbury, St Neots Priory Park, Somersham, Stilton, Upwood & The Raveleys, Yaxley & Farcet.

Huntingdon Town Council, currently overwhelmingly Tory, will see many new councillors. Several present members have said they will not stand again.

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The Liberal Democrats are hoping for a majority on the 18-seat St Neots Town Council. Early issues after the elections will include the Rowley gift, the swimming pool, town centre redevelopment, road safety schemes and anti-social behaviour.

Elections are also slated for Ramsey Town Council and rural parishes including: Abbotsley, Abbots Ripton, Barham & Woolley, Bluntisham, Brington & Molesworth, Buckworth, Bythorn & Keyston, Catworth, Colne, Earith, Easton, Ellington, Fenstanton, Grafham, Great Gransden, Great Staughton, Hail Weston, Holme, Holywell-cum-Needingworth, Kimbolton & Stonely, Kings Ripton, Leighton, Old Weston, Perry, St. Neots Rural, Somersham, Spaldwick, Stilton, Stow Longa, Tilbrook, Upwood & The Raveleys, Waresley, Woodwalton and Yaxley.

INFORMATION: New applications to vote by post must reach HDC by no later than 5pm on Wednesday April 18, to be effective for elections on May 3 and to vote by proxy no later than 5pm on Wednesday April 25.

New regulations require all applications for postal, postal proxy and proxy voting to include personal identifiers - a date of birth and signature.

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