Voters in Bath and North East Somerset have overwhelmingly rejected the idea of having an elected mayor to run the local authority.
The final result showed that 79% of voters were against the idea of having an elected mayor and voted to keep the current ‘Council Leader’ model in instead, with the remaining 21% voting in support of an elected mayor.
A total of 38,672 votes were cast in the referendum, representing a 29% turnout.
The outcome of the referendum means that the Council will continue to be run by a Leader and Cabinet system as before.
The news has been welcomed by local Conservatives, who campaigned against the idea of an Elected Mayor for B&NES, and had argued that it would have been a more costly and less accountable way to run the local authority.
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.
“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.”
The total votes were:
Council leader (current system): 30,557
Elected mayor (chosen by voters): 8,054
The total of spoilt ballot papers was 62.