TWO prominent councillors have denied they were amongst those who requested a by-election which could cost Warndon Parish Council £6,000 of public money.

City council leader Marc Bayliss and city and county councillor for Warndon Andy Roberts, both Conservatives, said they are not the ‘M Bayliss’ and ‘AC Roberts’ named in the list of 10 people who wrote to the returning officer.

They both, however, spoke in favour of holding elections over co-opting new councillors when contacted by the Worcester News yesterday.

As 10 residents requested a by-election, one will now be held.

The casual vacancy was announced on September 4 by the returning officer, after Richard Manser stood down, and will be filled via public vote next month rather than by allowing members to choose.

It comes less than 12 months after the parish’s last by-election in Warndon North in December which cost the council £6,000 and yet saw only a seven per cent turnout – 304 voters of a possible 4,111.

To save money, the council didn’t even send out polling cards.

At the time, the election was criticised by Conservative Warndon councillor Stephen Hodgson with full scale elections, held every four years, due five months later in May.

Councillor Roberts said everyone currently on the parish council “is an elected councillor and that’s something we should continue”.

He felt that without a scheduled election coming up in the near future, a by-election is a better democratic option for the parish.

“On this occasion there’s not an election we can slide in with,” he said. “That next term of office is another three years. We need a fully elected parish council.”

He agreed with Cllr Hodgson that last December’s by-election, in which current leader Andrew Cross was elected, was not necessarily a good idea just months before the full elections.

Councillor Bayliss said: “Co-opting someone onto a parish council – is that democratic? I don’t have a problem with [by-elections] – if they call it, it’s up to them. It would be best if the people who got elected stayed, [but] people stand down for all sorts of reasons.”

He used the example of former councillor and fellow Conservative Stuart Denlegh-Maxwell, who died suddenly in June, resulting in a by-election being called in Claines.

Cllr Bayliss said the ‘M Bayliss’ listed as living in Copsewood Avenue, Worcester, could have been his wife ‘Maureen’.

“That is not me and I don’t live there anymore. That’s my former home. Whether she signed the form or not I have no idea.”

Referring to the list of 10 people who asked for a by-election, which is publicly available at Worcester Guildhall, Cllr Bayliss said: "I was told the council don’t publish that list.”

Of the 10 names, six live in Tyndale, Worcester, the same street as Cllr Roberts’, while three live in Copeswood Avene and one in Orwin Green, Worcester.