Two out of three - that’s a total of 226- of those standing for town and parish council elections in East Cambs returned unopposed

The General Election takes place on May 7.

The General Election takes place on May 7. - Credit: Archant

Seventy per cent of those standing for town, parish – and even one Ely city ward- on May 7 have been returned unopposed.

That equates to 226 of the potential 323 councillors needed for these councils. All are automatically elected for a fresh four year term.

Some parishes face a bigger problem than others for in Sutton, for example, 40 per cent of the parish council seats will remain unfilled.

East Cambs has a total of 41 parish and town wards and in only 10 of these will there be an election.

And across East Cambs there will still be 49 vacancies - equivalent to 15 per cent of the total seats- on local town and parish councils

after May 7.

Often parishes falling short of one or two councillors will either carry on as normal or choose to co-opt.

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However in parts of East Cambs the shortfall is acute – only four candidates for instances have put themselves forward for the seven seats on Mepal parish council.

In Cheveley the parish council has 11 members representing the north and south wards and currently has eight serving councillors. That will drop even more after May 7 since only one candidate has put their name forward for Cheveley north and three for Cheveley south. In statistical terms that mean just over two thirds of the seats remain unfilled.

Larger villages such as Burwell have attracted sufficient candidates with 18 names on the ballot paper for the 17 parish council seats.

Chippenham, though, has only four candidates for seven seats. Chairman James Broad said he was standing down after eight years as chairman “since I thought it was time others had a go”.

He said he wasn’t concerned at the shortfall in candidates since two councillors had forgotten to put their papers in on time. He expected that would be “rectified” later.

In Ely there are contests in all bar one of the wards- in Ely north only five names have been put forward for the six seats.

Voters in Littleport will get the chance to vote – in both east and west wards. In the former there are 10 candidates for seven seats. In the latter 11 battle it out for eight places.

Soham is mixed with the south ward attracting 10 candidates for eight seats but the five candidates in north ward are returned unopposed, with two vacancies still to fill.