Formal notice has now been given for elections to Somerset County Council that will take place on Thursday, 5 May.
There are 110 seats available across the county, two in the 55 divisions with voters able to cast two votes in each division – the area that councillors represent – on polling day.
These are crucial elections for Somerset with the creation of a new, unitary council in April 2023 – the first major change to the way the county is governed in almost 50 years. New councillors will build a new and very different kind of local government, that will shape the county for decades.
New councillors will have more power to drive the changes people want, whether standing for their county, or more locally in city, town, and parish council elections.
For their first year, the councillors will take responsibility for all current County Council services and oversee the local government reorganisation to establish a single unitary council on 1 April 2023.
District councils will remain until 31 March 2023 and the councillors serving on them will continue in their roles until that date.
From 1 April 2023, the 110 councillors of the unitary council will be responsible for services that are currently delivered by the county and four district councils, ranging from adults and children’s social care to highways and housing, and from libraries to planning and licensing.
City, town, and parish council elections also take place on 5 May, offering the chance for people to stand up for their community right at the grass roots. They too will serve a five-year term.
Somerset’s four district councils administer the elections on behalf of the County Council and have today published formal notices of the elections.
Somerset County Council Chief Executive and Returning Officer Pat Flaherty said: “These will be the most important elections in Somerset for decades, both at county and parish and town levels. The new councillors will lead the development of the new Somerset Council and steer the design of local services as the new Local Community Networks take shape. I’d urge everyone to register to vote, to turn up on the day, or arrange a postal or proxy vote if not able to do that, and, of course, to vote.”
Residents are reminded to make sure they are registered to vote before the deadline of Thursday, 14 April. Those not on the electoral register should visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Would-be councillors still have two weeks to put themselves forward. The deadline for nominations is 4pm on Tuesday, 5 April.
For more information about the elections, including the Notice and who can stand, you can visit:
www.somerset.gov.uk/elections and www.somerset.gov.uk/how-the-council-works/elections.