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Decision details

Approval for suspension of the by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendums listed below and all future requests for by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendums until further notice with immediate effect

Decision Maker: Terence Herbert (Chief Executive Officer - People)

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

To approve the suspension of the by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendums listed and all future requests for by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendums until further notice with immediate effect

Reasons for the decision:

In accordance with the Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006, Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 and the Neighbourhood Planning (Referendums) Regulations 2012 the following by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendums were scheduled as listed:
Seagry Neighbourhood Planning Referendum - Thursday 26 March 2020
By Brook Unitary Division By-election - Thursday 2 April 2020
Bratton Parish Council By-election - Thursday 2 April 2020
Melksham Without Parish Council By-election - Thursday 23 April 2020
Chippenham Town Council (Hardenhuish Ward) - Thursday 23 April 2020
Clyffe Pypard Parish Council - Thursday 23 April 2020
Malmesbury Town Council - Thursday 23 April 2020
Tockenham Neighbourhood Planning Referendum - Tuesday 2 June 2020
However due to the current situation regarding the Covid-19 virus, I have taken regard of the following advice:
• Government advice regarding the Covid-19 virus on self-isolation and social distancing,
• Local Resilience Forum declaring the situation as a major incident,
• Electoral Commission guidance to the Government on the postponement of the 7 May 2020 Polls
• Recent Cabinet Office advice; and
• Advice from Wiltshire Council’s Director of Public Heath
In the interests of staff and public safety having regard to the above guidance and advice I have therefore decided that the scheduled elections and neighbourhood planning referendums as listed above and any subsequent requests for by-elections and referendums are suspended immediately until further notice. This will be kept under review as the situation develops and I will determine how these matters will proceed in the light of relevant legislation and guidance at the appropriate time.

Alternative options considered:

The only other option would be to continue with the by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendums as scheduled. However, the strong and overriding advice provided by Government and Wiltshire Council’s Director of Public Health makes this option untenable because of the significant implications for staff and public safety.

Conflict of Interest: Not applicable

Background: As the Returning Officer and Counting Officer, I am responsible for any matters relating to elections, by-elections, neighbourhood planning referendums, parish polls and council tax referendums in the County of Wiltshire on behalf of Wiltshire Council. The power to make a decision in respect of this rests with me as Returning Officer/Counting Officer.

Contact: Terence Herbert, Chief Executive Officer, People , (Returning Officer and Counting Officer) Email: terence.herbert@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Publication date: 18/05/2020

Date of decision: 20/03/2020

Accompanying Documents:

 

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