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Bishop's Castle elections called off as mayor quits council

South Shropshire | News | Published:

Elections have been cancelled in a Shropshire town – after the mayor and another long-serving member declined to put themselves forward as candidates again.

Keith Pinches, who has worn the chains in Bishop's Castle for the past four years, and the town's longest-serving councillor Dr St John Penney – who has been a member of Bishop's Castle Town Council for 46 years – have decided not to stand again.

The remaining 10 candidates will now be co-opted onto the council without the need for a public vote. An election had been pencilled in for May 2 if there had been enough candidates standing but it has now been cancelled.

It comes just days after it was announced Bridgnorth Town Council would not be holding elections after 10 of the authority's 16 councillors said they would be standing down. The council will instead operate with just 11 members.

Mr Pinches, 69, said a combination of getting old and ill health was behind his decision to quit the council in Bishop's Castle.

"I felt another four years would have been too much really," he said.

"If you go before then it costs the council around £1,000 to organise an election and I wouldn't want that, so I didn't think it was the right thing to do to carry on.

"I had open heart surgery three years ago and I have to think of my health."

Grandfather Mr Pinches, who has sat on the council for 13 years, described his time there as 'interesting but frustrating'.

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"I think everyone who sits on a town council would think that," he said. "Its very hard to get things moving as quickly as you would like.

"What I will say is I had a fantastic four years as mayor and met some wonderful people. One of the highlights was visiting Buckingham Palace for a garden party. I am sure I will miss it at first, but life moves on. I have got plenty of DIY to keep me occupied at home and I am looking forward to spending more time with my granddaughter."

Dr Penney declined to comment on the reasons for his decision to stand down.

The 10 remaining candidates to be co-opted are Karen Bavastock, Evelyn Bowles, Jane Carroll, Sarah Crowley, Stephen Farr, Jim Gaffney, John Morris, Darren Price, Ian Wall and Jock Wright. There are two spare seats after the departures of Mr Pinches and Dr Penney, and the new council will meet on May 7 to co-opt two more and bring the total back up to 12.

To be considered, call town clerk Diane Malley on (01588) 638141 or e-mail townclerk@bishopscastle.co.uk The town council will meet in the board room at Enterprise House while the town hall is being renovated.

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