4 candidates will contest 1 vacancy on parish council

kit Malthouse

Mayor James Palmer at Manor Farm, Stretham CLT in 2018 with then housing minister Kit Malthouse in 2018. He was accompanied by CLT chair Charles Roberts and the mayor's then political aide Tom Hunt, now MP for Ipswich - Credit: Archant

By-elections for parish councils rarely attract much attention – and certainly we’ve never heard of a public husting to listen to candidates.  

But Stretham is different.  

The parish council has a single vacancy and yet next Thursday there are four candidates for a single seat.  

What has created such a buzz in Stretham is the parish council’s bid for a new community hub, how it will be financed, and to what extent the village has been consulted.  

A lot of money is at stake. 

And reputations, inevitably, are being publicly scrutinised and decision-making processes challenged. Not least because the new centre will be at Manor Farm where a new housing estate has provided, by way of a contra arrangement, a large number of community land trust homes.  

But part of the commitment has always been provision within the site of a new GP practice. And that, thus far, has stalled.  

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The parish council is entitled to do what it thinks best for its village.  

Maybe, though, they might ask themselves if transparency remains at the heart of all of their decisions.