Sidmouth councillors question £2,000 by-election cost

Sidmouth town councillor Kelvin Dent

Sidmouth town councillor Kelvin Dent - Credit: Archant

Civic leaders have questioned the value of a £2,176 price tag for a Sidmouth Town Council by-election in July.

The cost of the face-off between Nick Diprose and Kelvin Dent, the resounding eventual winner, increased as no other polling occurred on the same day.

The candidates had been battling to fill the south ward position left by Maggie Baldwin, who stepped down for personal reasons.

Councillor Ann Liverton said at the Monday meeting: “I would ask any councillor to consider hard doing it [stepping down] between elections.”

She said there are ways of remaining as a member without attending meetings for up to six months, but that sometimes leaving the council is ‘unavoidable’. Councillor Graham Liverton added: “You can’t put a price on democracy.”

The council has been budgeting for elections since town clerk Christopher Holland brought the idea when he started.

Independent Cllr Dent netted an overwhelming 93 per cent of votes in a poll that saw 520 people head to the ballot box – a 27.4 per cent turnout.