Langport & Huish – contrasting interest!
The nominations for the elections on 5 May have been published today. The nomination papers at parish and town level have lots of interest. Not least neighbours Langport and Huish Episcopi have very different fortunes. Sadly we have to report that there were just 7 nominations received to serve on Langport Town Council. The council has 11 councillor spaces, so we already know there will be no election. All those nominated will be automatically elected and there will need to be co-option for the other four spaces.
Huish Episcopi is split into two wards. One for the village of Huish itself, the other for the village of Wearne. There is 1 councillor for the Ward of Wearne, and as so often in recent years, just one candidate. So John Wood will be elected unopposed.
However the ward of Huish village returns 8 councillors. And this election they have an embarrassment of riches.11 councillors will fight for the 8 seats on the council.
The names of the candidates for Huish Episcopi ward are familiar. Jane Redfearn, Julia Gadd, Shirley Nicholas, Graham Lock, Barry Horsgood and Arwyn Harris are long standing councillors for Huish.
But among the other contenders are other familiar names from Langport Town Council too. Val Saunders and Caroline Dunn are standing for Huish but not for Langport. Both have served for many years as Langport Town Councillors and Val chaired the council until recently. Meanwhile Sean Dromgoole, Rob Crumb have already been elected as Langport Town Councillors (see above). However they are also standing for election for Huish Episcopi too.
The question is why? Huish and Langport, have not always worked together well. There is some awkward history. In 2010 an attempt was made by Langport Town Council to force a merger with Huish Episcopi. It did not go down well. In the end a referendum was held and the merger was overwhelmingly rejected.
However the councils are neighbours and share many facilities in common. For instance the Youth Club, cemetery, or the recreation ground and sports club. Funds for these facilities are provided by both councils. In recent years the spirit of co-operation has been getting better.
Nevertheless some candidates are looking to improve dialogue between the councillors by representing both councils, either together, or in sequence.
Don’t forget to catch up on news between issues of The Leveller you can now take a free subscription with Leveller Confidential. To sign up follow the link: https://levellerconfidential.substack.com/
Always helpful if journalists provide a link to their sources, when not confidential. Not all your readers live in Langport, however fascinating their political doings.
We rather thought we had given a pretty big hint by saying the nominations were published today?
Anyone sufficiently persistent will discover that parish council elections in Taunton Deane will be held only in Cheddon and Wellington. In all other TD parishes nominations did not exceed seats available. Meaning electors are content with their parish councils. Or complacent.