Plans to hold elections every four years for Cheltenham borough councillors a step closer
ELECTIONS to find borough councillors in Cheltenham could take place every four years as part of a plan to cut the cost of democracy.
The number of councillors represented on the authority could also be cut as part of the shake-up.
Elections are currently held in the town every two years but many councillors have bemoaned the system as being "democracy in instalments'".
They have pointed to possible savings of around £25,000 a year by moving to a longer cycle.
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A motion was put before a meeting of the full council on Friday afternoon by Councillor Rob Garnham (C, Park).
The leader of the Conservative group said: "It's important that we do go to four yearly elections and look at the cost of democracy.
"The Government has done it and the county council has done it.
"The borough council has said that the £25,000 it would save a year by doing this is relatively small but it's not. Let's act with speed and get this decision made." Councillor Tim Harman, who has been fighting for the shift, said he wants to give the people of Cheltenham the best option.
He added: "I believe it would strengthen democracy because it gives the electorate the chance to change administration.
"We elect our Parliament and our European Parliament in one go, rather than having democracy in instalments."
The issue of reducing the number of councillors who sit on the borough council has been rumbling on for many months.
While some have advocated cutting the number of members in half to 20, concerns have been raised that such a number would be unworkable for staffing committees.
The Boundary Commission has said it would be unlikely to consider plans for anything less than 30 councillors.
Should any reduction take place, the Boundary Commission would be charged with redrawing the borough's ward boundaries to ensure each councillor represented a fair number of voters.
Councillor Steve Jordan, leader of the council, said: "The important question is what sort of council Cheltenham needs.
"That's the starting point – not can we scrap a couple of elections to save some money."
A report on the possibilities will be presented to full council next month.