Ledbury Town Council has been advised to force an election through multiple resignations or bring itself back up to strength through multiple co-options.

The advice to the town council has come from Alistair Neill, the Chief Executive of Herefordshire County Council.

As standing town councillors are reluctant to resign in sufficient numbers to bring about a town council election, co-option is the favoured course to fill the eight vacancies which have existed since May.

And the co-option of eight new councillors, whereby standing town councillors will decide which would-be councillors are most suited, is set to take place at the next full meeting of the town council, on December 5.

Before then, existing town councillors will be meeting to discuss a co-option policy.

Speaking at the last full town council meeting, town and county councillor, Liz Harvey said: “We just have to get on with it. We have to work within the rules.”

Mr Neill told the town council: “Taking into account the fact that there were no issues with the poll held in May 2019, or with the first meeting of Ledbury Town Council held thereafter, and that the town council remains quorate and with the ability to co-opt further members, there is no reason on which to determine that a further election is needed to fill the remaining vacancies.”

However, there was actually no public poll in May because, after years of in-fighting on the town council, a number of councillors stood down and there were only ten candidates for 18 seats, and so these ten seats were filled uncontested.

Mr Neill did suggest that an election could come about “should five existing town councillors resign, making the the council inquorate”.

But existing town councillors have decided to consider the co-option solution instead.