Bidding for new members to boost council’s power

Battle Town Council needs more members
Battle Town Council needs more members

Battle council will be looking to fill its vacant positions so it can use a relatively new law giving it more powers.

Battle Town Council needs at least three more representatives before it can use the ‘general power of competence’ – a law giving local authorities the ability to act as an individual.

This would mean the council could potentially take over the library if it closed or take out a loan, for example.

Councillors seemed keen on the idea at a meeting on Tuesday (April 19), but the law requires the authority to have at least two-thirds of its maximum representatives to be elected, and currently only nine out of a possible 17 are.

Members agreed to advertise the need for additional councillors and encourage people to sign up before looking into holding an election in the wards where there are vacancies – Marley, Netherfield and Watch Oak.

However, this would be a costly process – estimated at £6,000 to hold three elections – which throws the proposal into doubt.

Rother district councillor Kevin Dixon suggested holding the election at the same time as people vote on the European Union referendum on June 23, as this would significantly cut the cost.

The law was introduced as part of the Localism Act 2011.