Chard by-election result

With Chard Town Council riven by allegations of bullying, a by election was held yesterday for the town’s Holyrood Ward. The by-election saw the return of former LibDem councillor Gary Shortland. His nearest rival was independent candidate Craig Hussey.

The full result was as follows:

  • 159 Gary Shortland (LibDem)
  • 132 Craig Hussey (ind)
  • 61 Marion Gray (Cons)
  • 58 Roz Hall (Green)

However several residents have complained about the low turnout – 17.2%. This they claim was a result of many people not receiving polling cards. The Leveller has approached South Somerset District Council which is responsible for issuing the cards for a comment.

No polling cards

SSDC explained that although they are responsible for sending out polling cards, they can only do so if a town or parish council request it. SSDC have confirmed that no such request for polling cards was issued by Chard Town Council. This does not make the election illegal. But you have to question why Chard Town Council failed to ask for polling cards. More to the point, who took the decision and in what forum. One might have expected a decision not to send polling cards should have been taken at a full town council meeting.

New council make up

Following the by-election the town has 9 LibDems, 4 Green and 1 Independent councillors.


  • Pauline Laughton

    And Chard Town Council replied to me that it is SSDC.
    SSDC replied to my foi question to say Chard didn’t request polling cards by 4 pm on 17 th February being the deadline. Who knows what to believe!!
    Whatever it was a low turn out and l know how confused voters were as l was Telling for a couple of hours!! Democratic?? I think not!

  • Well both are right.
    It is true that SSDC issue the polling cards.
    It is also true that they only issue polling cards if asked to do so by the relevant parish and town council.
    The question we should be asking is why Chard Town Council did not ask for polling cards.
    Who took that decision at Chard Town Council?
    And why was the decision not taken at Full Council?

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