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By TGRWorzel | Saturday, December 21, 2013, 10:08

You may have heard, perhaps even read, that the long-serving Cllr June Watson, Town Councillor for Hedge End's Wildern ward, passed away earlier this week. 

Although the news has only just broken, the tributes are only just starting and the funeral has yet to be held, the Town Council, for some reason, have already published the notice of a vacancy for a replacement Town Councillor. They have been very quick off the mark here and it is pertinent to ask why they have done that.

However, the procedure for selecting a replacement is this.


If ten of the electors of Wildern ward notify the Returning Officer at Eastleigh Borough Council that they would like the vacancy to be filled by an election, an election will be held. 

If that doesn't happen, the Town Council will fill the vacancy by co-opting somebody. That means that you have no say in who represents you and that will effectively allow the Lib Dems on the Town Council to appoint whoever they want to the position. We already have several Councillors who do not live in Hedge End representing us. Do you want to allow that to happen again...?

If you feel that this vacancy should be filled by an election, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ACT POSITIVELY TO MAKE SURE THAT HAPPENS. You must write to the Returning Officer at Eastleigh Borough Council, explicitly requesting that the vacancy be filled by an election and encourage all of your neighbours to do likewise. Please don't rely on 'somebody else' to do this: if you believe that this vacancy should be filled by an election you must act positively yourself.

If you want to, you can collect several names/addresses & signatures (ideally all 10) and send (or hand-deliver) them to the Returning Officer. Those details must be in the hands of the Returning Officer before 14th January 2014, so you must post them in good time, or hand-deliver them to make absolutely sure that they arrive in time and don't get 'lost' in the postal system or conveniently 'lost' in the Civic Offices...!

And it doesn't matter if there are several groups around Wildern doing this. If the Returning Officer gets 150 names/signatures requesting an election, that's a very powerful message that will cause the Lib Dems to sit-up and take notice. They will no longer take Wildern for granted...

Fuller details can be found in the co-option notice, which can be found on the Town Council website,, though you may find that it is hard to find and easy to miss: the Lib Dems don't really want to have an election, it is not remotely in their interest to do so...

The direct link to the co-option notice is

So if you wish to write to The Returning Officer, the address you will need is;  

The Returning Officer

Eastleigh Borough Council

Civic Offices

Leigh Road



SO50 9YN

If an election is called, it will definitely be contested as I will stand as an Independent, but we should remember that (almost) anybody who wants to can stand and you don't have to belong to a political party to do so.

Provided you qualify, and most voters in Wildern ward will be eligible, it only requires a couple of signatures on a nomination paper. It is very easy to put yourself forward and the campaign can be as active or as low-key as you want to make it.

TIme is short, so please try to do this over the Xmas and New Year period. 

Thanks for reading this far and thanks for doing your bit to help me strengthen local democracy in Hedge End.

Ray Turner  


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