PEOPLE across Somerset will head to the polls on Thursday (May 5) to cast their votes for two candidates standing to be in the county’s new unitary authority. 

A total of 110 councillors will be elected – two in each of the 55 existing county council divisions – to the new Somerset Council, which will be established on April 1, 2023.

The new council will replace Somerset County Council and the four district councils (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, and South Somerset).

In their first year, the elected councillors will take responsibility for all current county council services and oversee the local government reorganisation.

They will then represent voters for a further four years until May 2027.

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: “We wholeheartedly encourage everyone who is registered to vote to come out on May 5 and exercise their democratic right.

“This is the chance to help decide who represents your community in a new council that will be responsible for services that have an impact on everyone’s day-to-day lives.”

Read more: Local elections 2022 in Somerset: what you can and can't do at a polling station

There are 337 candidates standing in the election, with the Conservatives fielding the most candidates (109) followed by the Liberal Democrats (108), the Green Party (50), and Labour (45).

A total of 23 candidates are standing as independents or with no affiliation or description.

Of the 337 candidates, around 40 per cent are existing district or county councillors.

What is the current political make-up of Somerset’s councils?

Somerset County Council 

Mendip District Council

  • Liberal Democrats: 23 seats
  • Conservatives: 12 seats
  • Green Party: 10 seats
  • Independent: 1 seat
  • No political party: 1 seat

Sedgemoor District Council

  • Conservatives: 29 seats
  • Labour: 11 seats
  • Liberal Democrats: 7 seats
  • Independent: 1 seat

Somerset West and Taunton Council

  • Liberal Democrats: 32 seats
  • Independent: 12 seats
  • Conservative: 9 seats
  • Labour: 3 seats
  • Green Party: 2 seats
  • No political party: 1

South Somerset District Council

  • Liberal Democrats: 39 seats
  • Conservatives: 13 seats
  • Independent: 6 seats
  • Green Party: 1 seat
  • Vacant: 1 (Brympton)

Read more: Here are nine local battles to watch out for in the May 2022 election

Read more: 'Big-hitters' not standing in the Somerset elections