THE recent death of former town mayor, Councillor Martin Emmerson, has created a ‘casual vacancy’ on Skipton Town Council.

Cllr Emmerson was one of four councillors elected at the May local elections, alongside Robert Heseltine, Karen McIntyre and Gordon Bell, to serve the town’s south ward, including Middletown, Greatwood and Horse Close.

The council must now fill the vacancy, either by holding a by-election, or by co-opting someone onto the council.

A by-election can only be held if a written request is received by the returning officer at Craven District Council within 14 days working days of August 14, and signed by at least 10 people living in the south ward.

Otherwise, the council will invite interested people to put their name forward for possible co-option.

Dave Parker, the council’s chief officer, said: “The sudden passing of Cllr Emmerson came as a shock to everyone involved with Skipton Town Council – and it is very sad that a vacancy should arise on the council in such a manner.

“The procedure for such an occasion is set out in law – and the council is obliged to follow the electoral rules and their associated timescales.”

In the event that a valid request for a by-election is received, it is likely that the election would take place towards the end of October.