THE MAYOR of Tavistock has said he is pleased at a campaign to encourage more people to become town councillors as local elections loom.

Cllr Paul Ward spearheaded a public relations exercise to try and refresh the longstanding faces on the council and increase the number of younger people elected.

The campaign came ahead of the nationwide local elections on Thursday, May 4, which cover West Devon borough and town and parish councils in West Devon.

Despite the move to rejuvenate the council, there is only one new candidate younger than the average age (which is above 50) and only one ward of the three will be contested — which happens where there are more candidates than seats.

Cllr Ward said: ‘I am pleased at our efforts to attract more interest from people to be new councillors. We wanted six people to stand and we have five in two of the wards and one vacancy in the third.

‘Also, we have one sitting councillor who is younger than than average and he is standing for election and another younger new candidate who is standing for election.’

Under local democracy rules, in order to have the full legal powers to achieve what residents want from their councillors, councils are required to show that the number of councillors elected is two thirds of its total number.

Cllr Ward said: ‘It’s good news that we have the required number of councillors to stand in order to function fully under the general power of competetence.

‘This means in democratic terms that any local councils will have therefore, have same legal rights as any individual and therefore, to act in the interests of voters.

‘We are also required to have a fully qualified clerk. In our case we have one of the most qualifed and experienced town clerks in the South West.’

Cllr Ward also said he was confident the council can attract someone interested in being a councillor to fill the vacancy in the South East (SE) Ward somne time after the elections. This person can be co-opted into the vacant seat— democratically chosen by councillors without a public vote.

Because there has been renewed interest in becoming a councillor, there will be an election in Tavistock’s South West (SW) Ward with seven candidates vying for five seats.

The following candidates are standing for election in the SW Ward: Mandy Ewings, Candy Gynn-Martin, Julu Irvine, Anne Johnson, Allen Lewis, Philip Peers and Alick Venning.

In the North Ward the following candidates were nominated and unopposed. They are therefore, elected without a contest.

They live in Tavistock and are independent (unless otherwise indicated) Michael Fife Cook, of Mary Tavy; Steve Hipsey, Ursula Mann, Jeff Moody, Trev Munro and Pete Squire.

In the SE Ward the following candidates were also elected unopposed: Andy Hutton, Martin Charles (Green Party), Barry Smith and Paul Ward. A vacancy remains for one of the seats in this ward.