Odd goings ons in Oxted, across the boundary from Croydon in Surrey.
In 2011, Oxted South duly elected six parish councillors: four of them Conservatives, one Labour and one LibDem.
A year later, one of the Conservative councillors stood down, and there appears to have been a consensus because the Tories were allowed to co-opt a replacement, Peter Bush, rather than go to the expense of a by-election.
Bush died towards the end of 2013, and this time Tandridge District Council, which oversees the democratic process for the parish elections, did receive the requisite number of applications to trigger a by-election in Oxted South.
On November 27, the local returning officer issued a notice of the by-election, to be held on January 9, requesting nominations for candidates with a deadline of December 10. In due course, Tandridge council offices received a nomination as candidate for today’s election from the Liberal Democrats for Stephen Blunden, and from Labour for Sarah-Jane Wilkinson. “We published the usual documents, but those were the only nominations we received,” said the very helpful officer at Tandridge council.
Now we know that the Tories in Croydon are having a bit of bother recruiting members, and that local MP Gary Barlow has been sending letters to residents asking some of them – anyone – to come forward to stand as candidates in May’s local elections. Certainly, as recent repercussions over the Coulsdon “Masterplan” have shown, what happens in Surrey can impact parts of Croydon. And remember, Croydon South’s MP, Lord Bletchingley, lives not so far away.
UKIP did rather well in Surrey last year, but they say they have not put up a candidate in Oxted South because they don’t think it appropriate to politicise parish elections. Holier than thou? Probably, as UKIP tries to focus its resources and candidates on May’s local and especially the European elections.
But could the Conservative party in East Surrey be struggling with the same recruitment problems as their Croydon colleagues? One Surrey parish councillor suggested to Inside Croydon that the reason there is no Conservative candidate in Oxted South is even more embarrassing: they forgot to send in the forms.
We called Colin Thomas, the “President and Chair” of the East Surrey Conservative Association to ask him the reason for the absence of the candidate in Oxted South. “Oxted South?” Thomas said. “Nothing to do with me.” He suggested we call someone else in his local Association.
We did that on Monday, and an answering service message suggested that we should leave our name and number and someone would call us back. No one has returned our call.
Perhaps they’ve forgotten.
Coming to Croydon
- STDLCC Screening: Museum Hours, Jan 13
- “Croydon Communities Consortium” meeting, Jan 14
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Jan 16
- Croydon Ramblers, Chelsham walk, Jan 19
- STDLCC Screening: The East, Jan 20
- STDLCC Screening: Winter Nomads, Jan 27
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Feb 3
- Babylon at the Spread Eagle Theatre, Feb 4-6
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Purley Swimathon: Feb 8 and 13
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
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