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374 councillors to be elected for Maidstone Borough Council and surrounding parishes

The date of the May local elections has been formally declared.

People wishing to stand in Maidstone can now apply to become a candidate.

Could you do a better job?
Could you do a better job?

Unlike the General Election, there is no lost deposit for those who don’t fare as well at the polls as they had hoped - so there is no bar to standing, except for the time spent knocking on doors and the money spent printing leaflets, which comes out of the candidates’ own pockets.

It is not necessary to belong to a political party.

But those considering putting their name forward will have to move quickly as the closure date for nominations is Friday, April 5.

This year brings a new era to local elections in the county town, with the borough switching to one all-in election, instead of three years of elections by one-thirds as previously.

It means every councillor is up for election. But there will be no further borough elections for four years.

Cllr David Burton is standing down
Cllr David Burton is standing down

Following a ward boundary review, the number of councillors is being reduced from 55 to 49.

Several of the existing councillors - including the council leader David Burton - are not seeking re-election and that, combined with new ward boundaries, makes the outcome of the election one of the hardest to predict for a long time.

In addition to the borough elections, all of the town’s 34 parish councils are also simultaneously up for election. This is 325 councillors.

Again, anyone can put their name forward to become a parish councillor - you just need the support of two other voters in your area.

In many parish councils, there are often too few candidates to fill all the vacant seats, in which case those that have been nominated are automatically “elected” without a poll taking place.

Don't forget to take photo ID when you go to vote
Don't forget to take photo ID when you go to vote

Details and nomination forms can be found on the borough council’s website here.

Bearsted CAN, has already arranged its own election hustings to be held at the Holy Cross Church in Bearsted starting at 7pm on Thursday, April 11, when candidates standing for Bearsted and Downswood Ward will be invited to present their policies to their voters.

The elections are on Thursday, May 2.

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