VOTERS in South Lakeland will soon have their say on which of 180 candidates will occupy the 51 district council seats.

In an all-new format for establishing who will represent South Lakeland District Council, the number of wards has been reduced from 45 to 18.

The 51 seats available remain the same as when the current council was elected, but following the vote on May 3, there will be either three or two councillors representing each ward.

The current leader of SLDC, Cllr Giles Archibald, said it was impossible to tell how the new system would affect the result.

"We're not really able to forecast anything but we hope it will give us a renewed mandate to continue the good work we've been doing," he said.

But before the votes are even cast, there is sure to be a new-look SLDC as 12 current councillors, including 11 from the Liberal Democrats, are not seeking re-election.

These including planning committee chair Mary Wilson, portfolio holder Brenda Gray, and former council chair Sylvia Emmott. Stan Collins, the longest-serving member on the council, will also not be standing.

Mr Collins, a member for 39 years, is standing aside to focus on his responsibilities with Cumbria County Council.

"You don't normally get that long for murder," he joked. "There are a number of reasons but it's best not to just hang on to the role just because you can. There are other people that could the job as well as I could, so let them."

Cllr Archibald said there was no one reason for those not seeking re-election, it was just down to personal circumstance.

"I don't think there's any particular rationale," he said. "It was inevitable there would be people who took this opportunity to reflect on their workload and family life. There's no discontent or anything like that."

The only political party fielding a full quota of 51 candidates is the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats have named 48 candidates, Green Party 43, Labour 37 and there is one candidate standing as an Independent.

A full list of candidates in each of the new wards is available on SLDC’s website.

Cllr Ben Berry, the Conservative group leader on SLDC, said: “We are very proud to be the only party fielding a full slate of candidates in these elections.

“We know from talking to people on the doorstep that many people are looking for a change of direction after 12-years of Liberal Democrat control on the council.

The vote takes place on Thursday, May 3, with polling stations open from 7am to 10pm. The count will take place during the day on Friday, 4 May, and results will be posted on SLDC’s website.

Early estimates indicate a final result is likely at approximately 5pm.

The current administration had a Liberal Democrat majority. Going into May's vote, there are 31 Liberal Democrat councillors, 16 from the Conservatives, two Labour members, one Independent and there is also one seat listed as vacant.

There are also town council elections taking place in Kendal, with all 10 wards contested. There will also be a by-election in Ulverston East for Ulverston Town Council.

The Statement of Persons Nominated for these elections has also been published and the list of candidates can be found at:

To find out more information about the new boundaries visit: