Whilst Parish councils across our area suffer from lack of interest and appreciation of volunteer councillors the same cannot be said for Shiptonthorpe where 18 locals have submitted papers to become a member of the parish council.

Given that the estimated population of the village is 520 this means that 1 person in every 29 wants to become a Shiptonthorpe Parish Councillor.

Compare this to Pocklington with an estimated population of 10,000 where 9 people want to become a Town councillor. That’s 1 person in 1,111.

I do not live in the village so have limited knowledge of the undercurrents, but this is what I think is going on.

For years Shiptonthorpe Parish Council was ignored by most as irrelevant. A few dedicated souls meeting once a month to do their duty and keep things ticking over.

Suddenly a couple of contentious issues rise to the surface:
1. Renewing the 40-year lease for the village hall. (Owned by the Parish but leased to the Village Hall Committee for £1 a year.)
2. East Riding Council discover there is a need for affordable homes in the area and propose building some houses on a field they already own in the village.

People start to take an interest and attend the monthly Parish Council meeting. Some decide they don’t have any confidence in some of the councillors who have served for years because no one else wanted to. Some think the council is going to increase the annual rent for the village hall which they now regard as their property. They take issue with the fact that the Parish is spending money on solicitors to renew the lease.

Others think that they will have a better chance of fighting the proposal to build affordable homes if they are on the council. Even though Parish councils have no real power over such matters. They can, like any individual, register an opinion but ERYC can simply ignore them if it goes against the councils’ strategic targets.

On the one hand you could take the view that this is great for local democracy. On the other hand, with a population of 520 you might think that everyone should be pulling together.

All of the above is my subjective observation. I don’t live there, and my views are based on what I witnessed at a Parish council meeting and what I have picked up elsewhere.

One thing’s for sure. A lot of people in Shiptonthorpe are going to be very interested in the outcome of this election.

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