AN unspecified number of Ledbury town councillors say they will not be standing in the May elections, according to council chairman, Cllr Nina Shields.

No names were named, allowing for individual councillors to change their minds. But the announcement concerning likely vacancies on the council was made at last week’s full town council meeting in the Methodist Church.

Cllr Shields said: “A number of councillors have indicated they will be standing down. We do need a good field of candidates in May.”

Because of this, the town council is planning to hold two drop in sessions, on March 2 and March 6, for anyone wishing to stand.

Cllr Shields acknowledged the town council has gone through troubled times and its reputation has been damaged.

She said: “The Judicial Review has done a lot of damage, let’s not beat about the bush.

“We are recovering our reputation.”

The council fought and lost a Judicial Review which was brought against it by Cllr Liz Harvey, after she was sanctioned by the town council, despite being cleared of bullying staff by a separate Herefordshire Council investigation.

So far the town council, as the losing side, has paid out around £220,000 in legal fees.

Concerning the search for fresh candidates, Cllr Shield added: “I think it’s important for the democratic process to be working properly. I think next year will be a good year; with a bit of luck we will be drawing a line under a lot of things.”

Six members of staff have left Ledbury Town Council in recent times, and five town councillors have resigned during the past year or so.

Some members of the electorate have raised concerned over the perceived poor attendance of existing councillors at meetings.

The last full town council meeting was attended by just seven councillors out of eighteen, although a number of apologies were received, due to illness.

One damning post on the online Ledbury Reporter site states: "This just shows the level of commitment and interest shown by most of the old and new councillors. Hopefully come the May elections there will be a complete clear out of the ineffectual and disinterested load of time wasters who masquerade as elected representation."