Committed Crieff residents have been given a chance to get involved in local democracy following the news a community council by-election has been called in the Strath capital.
The ballot, which is to be held on October 31 should the required number of nominations be received, has been planned as the group requires more elected members to bring it in line with local authority legislation.
Rules state a community council in an area the size of Crieff can be comprised of up to 13 elected locals. Crieff currently has five, complemented by a group of four non-elected – or co-opted – individuals.
A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Council told the Herald: “Crieff Community Council has gone to a by-election as the number of elected members has fallen below half of the maximum permitted membership, and as per the Scheme of Establishment of Community Councils. When this happens, they are required to have a by-election.
“All current co-opted members of the community council, of which there are four, are required to step down and stand for election if they wish to remain on the community council, otherwise their membership will cease from the date of the election.”
In a letter, community council secretary Jean Ann Scott Miller explained: “The community council at present has four co-opted members, all of whom are standing for election. To bring the council up to its full strength of 13, another four nominations are required and, if more than eight nominations are received, there will be a postal ballot at the end of October.”
Chairman Stephen Leckie added: “It’s a democratic process so, if other people are interested in joining, then that’s great but they have to have the time to make a proper commitment to it.
“When I got involved with the community council I was determined to grow our numbers. The number of co-opted members we have now means that Perth and Kinross Council has decided we need a by-election.
Mr Leckie continued: “As I see it, our main goals are to reclaim the area’s heritage, support the Crieff Community Action Plan and to make Crieff a better place to live, work and to welcome visitors to.”
Nominations for the by-election are now open and completed forms, including a 50-word supporting statement, must be submitted no later than 4pm on Thursday, October 3.
Anyone wishing to throw their hat into the ring must be 18 or over, live in the local area and be named on the electoral register for the community council area. A given candidate’s proposer and seconder must also live in and be named on the electoral register for the same community council area.
Forms and copies of the Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils can be downloaded from www.pkc.gov.uk, picked up from the local authority’s headquarters or obtained on 01738 475004 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, nomination forms are also available at the Strathearn Community Campus.