Taxpayers facing bill of £3.5k to run by-election

The Priory Centre, St Neots,

The Priory Centre, St Neots, - Credit: Archant

A town council by-election which is being run after an administrative error led to two newly appointed councillors being disqualified after the election could cost taxpayers more than £3,000.

A fresh election for the Eaton Ford ward of St Neots is set to be held next month and, according to estimates from Huntingdonshire District Council, which oversees the election, could cost as much as £3,500 to run.

David Harty (Conservative) won the seat in May’s election, but had to stand down when it became clear that he had not signed his acceptance of office declaration before the deadline. Mr Harty has refused to be drawn on the circumstances that led to the error, but has let it be known that he is unhappy about the situation.

He will now stand alongside town council stalwart Derek Giles who is hoping to attract votes on a Putting Eaton Ford First ticket.

A second councillor, David Wells, was also disqualified after failing to sign his papers, but as his St Neots East ward is uncontested he remains in place and may now take up his seat on St Neots Town Council, which is based at the Priory Centre.

The election will take place on August 6 and the deadline for postal votes is July 22. Polling stations will be open from 7am till 10pm.

Town mayor James Corely has said the money and time involved in staging another election will be “considerable”.

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INFOrmation: Polling Stations are at: The Scout Hall, Mill Hill Road, Eaton Ford, and The Eatons Community Centre, Eaton Socon.