Small turn out but big ‘NO’ to elected mayor.

Voters in yesterday’s referendum have voted against the idea of replacing the present Leader and Cabinet system – in local government – with an elected mayor.

It was a big ‘no’ too with 30,557 votes against 8,054 in favour of changing the system. There were 62 spoilt ballot papers.

Bath Guildhall
Bath Guildhall

The turnout was 38,672 (28.97 per cent).

In last year’s combined Parliamentary and local government elections the turnout across B&NES averaged 74.1 per cent.

The district has a population of just over 176,000 people.

Welcoming the news, Conservative Leader of B&NES Council Tim Warren said:

“We’re obviously very pleased with this decisive outcome, and believe it shows that residents in the area were never really convinced by the case for change.

tim warren
Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES.

“Our priority now is to get on with the job of running the council in the best interests of our residents, delivering on the promises we made at last year’s local elections and dealing with the significant financial challenge we face in the years ahead.

“Whilst we obviously disagreed with those calling for an elected mayor, I respect the effort they put into their campaign. They are clearly passionate about their community and I hope we can work with them to make Bath and North East Somerset an even better place to live and work.”

Councillor Paul Myers (Cons, Midsomer Norton Redfield), who ran the Conservative campaign against the prospect of an elected mayor, commented:

“What we found on the doorstep was that most residents are largely content with the way the Council is run at present and were not convinced by the arguments in favour of change. In particular, we found that our concerns about the cost and accountability of a mayor, and whether the system was right for an area like B&NES, were shared by many members of the public.

“I’d like to thank all those involved in the campaign, particularly all the volunteers who put in so much time and effort to help get our message across and make sure that residents were informed and engaged in this important decision.”