Election countdown for community councils

Residents are being urged to get behind their community councils or face losing them.

North Lanarkshire Council will hold its community council elections on Wednesday, October 5, with nominations closing on Tuesday, September 6.

However, following changes in legislation Stepps and Moodiesburn community councils say the number of members they need has increased and they could be forced to disband if they can’t get more people involved.

A spokesperson for Moodiesburn Community Council said: “It would be terrible if we disbanded.

“It’s terrible for any community if it doesn’t have a community council to fight its corner.”

A spokesperson for Stepps Community Council said: “We now need double the number of community councillors to make us viable and if we can’t get the nominations we won’t exist.”

New legislation means community council membership is now based on population areas and two thirds of the membership must be elected.

Tom Gaffney, North Lanarkshire Council’s chief committee services manager, said: “Community councils are normally re-elected every four years. However, the Scottish Government has been reviewing the community council scheme and that review, together with the new guidance issued as a result, meant the usual process was delayed, and it has been seven years since the last election.

“We’re now in a position to hold elections. We’ve written directly to all community councils to inform them and provide them with nomination forms.

“ Additional forms and information are available on our website.

“We’ve placed adverts in every local newspaper that has coverage of any part of North Lanarkshire and posters have been sent to every local Post Office with a request that postmasters help us by advertising the elections.

Posters are also displayed in every First Stop Shop and in public libraries and all community centres and halls in the council area. Even at this early stage, we’ve had a very positive response from community councils and most, if not all, are well on their way to reforming.

“Anyone who requires further information or forms can contact us on 01698 302 359.”