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Parish Council Elections

The parish council is a vital part of any community, it is the local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish and makes representations on their behalf to other bodies (e.g. on planning matters).  It is the authority closest to the people, therefore the Parish Council is invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas.

Every four years, Parish Councils are required to hold an election for membership of the Council. Once elected, Parish Councillors usually sit on the Council for a maximum of four years, if they then wish to stay in the post they must stand for re-election.  Villagers are actively encouraged to apply to join the Parish Council, it is always good to welcome new members.  Ideally, all age groups and a wide demographic should be represented on a Council.  There are nine seats on the Council, so if more than nine people stand, there will be a ballot and the nine candidates with the most votes get elected.

Who can become a Parish Councillor?

Any resident of Red Lodge who:

  • has occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Parish area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of nomination and the day of election;
  • is at least 18 years old;
  • is a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union (this hasn’t changed!).

Also, you’d need to meet at least one of the following four qualifications:

  1. you are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the Parish in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination onwards;
  2. your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the parish/community area;
  3. you have lived in the Parish or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election;
  4. you have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Parish during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.

What do Parish Councils do?

Parish Councils make all kinds of decisions and make representations to other local and national bodies, on issues that affect the local community as well as working with external bodies, the District Council and County Council on local matters and engaging with other local Parish Councils on matters that affect us all.

There are limited powers to make decisions, but Parish Councils do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions.

The Good Councillors Guide is a really good introduction to the work of Parish Councils

And the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has also produced a booklet All About Parish Councils

Current vacancies and elections

Local elections 4 May 2023

There will be full district and parish elections in West Suffolk on Thursday 4 May 2023.

West Suffolk Council and the 81 parish and town councils across West Suffolk will hold elections for councillors.

These elections will be the first time that Voter ID will be required to be shown by all voters at a polling station. This has been introduced under the Elections Act 2022.

Key dates

Following publication of the elections notice on Wednesday 22 March 2023, the deadline to deliver nomination papers is 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023.

Registration to vote deadline - midnight on Monday 17 April 2023.

Receipt of postal vote applications deadline - 5pm on Tuesday 18 April 2023.

Receipt of proxy vote applications deadline - 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.

A complete list of relevant dates can be found on the election timetable.


Nomination papers can be collected and delivered by contacting the Red Lodge Parish Clerk  clerk@redlodgeparishcouncil.gov.uk

Delivery of nomination papers

The nomination period commences at 9am on Thursday 23 March 2023 until 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023. Nomination forms must be delivered by hand and we offer appointments between the hours of 9am and 5pm to deliver your nomination form to our West Suffolk House office in Bury St Edmunds.

To book an appointment, please email elections@westsuffolk.gov.uk with details of the date and time that you would like to attend and the area that you will be standing as a candidate for. We will confirm your appointment by email.

Election expenses

All candidates at an election must submit a declaration and a return of expenses, to the Returning Officer, within a set timeframe. This is regardless of whether they were elected or not and even if no expenses were incurred. These documents are made available for inspection.

The deadline for receipt of candidates expenses for town and parish elections is Thursday 1 June 2023.

The deadline for receipt of candidates expenses for the district council elections is Thursday 8 June 2023.

The Electoral Commission provides guidance on electoral spending which can be found on Spending and Donations Local Elections May 2023