By-elections can occur in any district ward or parish at any time if a serving councillor resigns, dies or is disqualified, creating a casual vacancy. If a casual vacancy arises, the relevant council must publish a 'Notice of Vacancy'.

If the councillors term of office was due to end in less than six months, an election cannot be held until the scheduled elections in May.

If the remainder of the councillor's term of office was longer than six months, a certain number of electors can submit a written request to the Returning Officer, as below:

  • district council vacancy - signatures of two electors registered within the district
  • parish or town council vacancy - signatures of 10 electors registered within the parish, to be received before the deadline stated in the Notice of Vacancy

If a request is received for an election to be held, the 'Notice of Election' will be published on this page. The Notice will show the deadlines for receipt of:

  • nomination papers by candidates
  • written applications to vote by post
  • written applications to vote by proxy

Candidates' nomination packs, postal/proxy application forms, and further guidance on vacancies are all available upon request. 

Following the expiry of the Notice of Election and the deadline for withdrawals, a poll will only be held if there are more candidates than seats available.