DUE to the close political balance at Thurrock Council, chief executive and returning officer Graham Farrant has decided the authority will enter a full pre-election “purdah” period in the run-up to a by-election next month.
Following the sad death of Stifford Clays Councillor, Diana Hale, a Notice of Vacancy was published on Wednesday (11 September) and a by-election has now been called for Thursday, 17 October.
Mr Farrant said: “Given the tight political balance within the council I propose we treat the pre-election period as being the same as if it were a full council election and we have a formal pre-election period.”
This means council, cabinet, and most overview and scrutiny meetings which have not been published, will not be held, although quasi-judicial and regulatory meetings like planning or licensing will go ahead as will the Standards and Audit Committee.
Mr Farrant said: “There is no specific requirement to cancel meetings, but in my view I believe it will smooth the administration of the council during this sensitive period.”
Following the Notice of Vacancy and the receipt of a letter calling for the by-election the Publication of Notice of Election was made on Thursday (12 September).
Nominations for people to stand in the by-election open on Friday, 13 September and close at noon on Friday 20 September. Those wishing to stand can obtain a set of nomination papers from the council’s Electoral Services team.
The deadline for people living in the ward to register to vote is Wednesday, 2 October, and at 5pm on the same day the deadline for the receipt of postal vote applications comes into force.
The polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, 17 October and the count is expected to take place at the Civic Offices in New Road, Grays, immediately following that.