Sweeping political change in Gloucester could happen after radical plans to alter the way city councillors are voted in were backed.
Voting for your Gloucester city councillors will now only happen every four years instead of once every year for three consecutive years.
It is hoped that it will simplify the voting system and encourage more people to go to the ballot box.
HANDY GUIDE TO ELECTIONS
2014 – City council / European elections
2015 – City council / Parliamentary elections
2016 – Whole city council / Police & crime commissioner elections
2017 – County council elections
2018 – No elections
2019 – Parliamentary elections
2020 – Whole city council election
VIDEO: How your councillor voted
Side effects of the change could even mean the city’s Conservative administration wiped out in one swoop if there is a sea change in the fortunes of rival parties.
The change, which comes into effect from May 2016, will also save taxpayers £195,000 over the next six years.
Some 28 councillors approved the changes at a meeting last Thursday, with seven Conservative backbenchers refusing to support the measure.
Councillor Mary Smith (L, Robinswood) said: “Any councillor who is worth their salt is going to be out walking the streets meeting people regardless of whether there is an election or not. If they don’t then they frankly deserve to be thrown out after four years.”
Voters were consulted on the proposed change in January but city council bosses received just 36 responses – 33 of which supported the idea of all-out.
But councillor Gordon Taylor (C, Abbey) warned: “We need to have continuity in the council chamber. It is difficult for the council to do its business if everyone is new.”
And councillor Andrew Gravells (C, Abbey) added: “Just 36 people bothered to express a view. That is a shocking level of apathy. What happened to the other thousands of people in Gloucester?”
He argued that reducing the number of elections could add to voter apathy.
One voter spoke to councillors claiming that she had only found out about the consultation ‘by mistake’ and that a lack of publicity for the proposal was to blame for the low response.