Information for Town and Parish councils

Notices of vacancy

A parish or town council vacancy can arise due to:

  • The resignation of a previous councillor
  • The death of a previous councillor
  • Failure of a previous councillor to attend meetings

These are known as casual vacancies.

Once there is a vacancy, the parish or town council clerk normally notifies us of the vacancy so that we can draft the notice ready for publication. After the notice is published, there is a 14-day statutory period in which an election can be requested by those from that parish or parish ward. If we receive 10 valid requests for poll from registered electors within the parish or parish ward, an election for that vacancy is triggered. Otherwise, the vacancy is filled by co-option where the council will implement their own procedures for filling the vacancy.

Report a vacancy

Please contact us via email outlining how the vacancy has occurred and we will prepare and send the notice to you.

The notice will also be published on our website on the Public and legal notices webpage.


Once an election is called following a notice of vacancy, the Returning Officer will set a date for that election within 35 working days and a notice of election will be published. A timetable of events will be created and this, along with all other relevant information, will be published on the Upcoming and scheduled elections webpage.

Nomination papers from candidates intending to stand may be submitted any working day after the notice of election is published but before the deadline stated on the notice. Papers must be hand-delivered to the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare.

Please note that once nomination papers are formally submitted, they cannot be given back.

We do offer an informal nomination paper check option during the nomination period. These appointments will need to be booked in advance. Please email Electoral Services to book an appointment or for further information.

Should the number of valid nominations we receive exceed the number of vacancies, an election will be held. If the number of valid nomination papers are less than or equal to the number of vacancies, then those people who submitted nomination papers are elected uncontested without the need for an election.

For a full breakdown of the by-election process, please look at our By-election guide.

Please note that costs incurred by planning and delivering a parish or town council election will be recharged back to the parish or town council where the election is taking place.

Electoral Services, North Somerset Council, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ