A VILLAGE parish council struggling for people to stand has had to draft in support from South Lakeland District Council.

Casterton Parish Council, on the outskirts of Kirkby Lonsdale, was at risk of legally struggling to function after having just one councillor when it needs five.

The village is home to around 250 people but in recent years its parish council has struggled by with just four councillors. They all stepped down earlier this month after serving a four-year term.

Just a single person from the village – Chris Benson – stood on May 2 and was elected unopposed, but it left the council “inquorate”.

South Lakeland District Council has now stepped in to appoint councillors to the parish. They are district councillors Kevin Lancaster, of Sedbergh; Ian Mitchell, of Dent, and county councillor Nick Cotton, of Kirkby Lonsdale.

If sufficient people come forward, the parish council election will be re-run on June 13 for the four empty seats on the authority.

The Rev Kevin Price, clerk to Casterton Parish Council, said it had got by with just four members for the last few years.

“It’s a problem happening at many parish councils," he said. "I am clerk to 11 councils and about half of them are short. I have been a clerk for 36 years and can’t remember a council being down to just one member.”

Other councils struggling for numbers include Witherslack and Underbarrow which is short of two councillors, soon to be three. Burneside Parish Council is also short of four councillors, with Natland short of one, said Mr Price.

Mr Price said the reasons for people not standing varied. “There does seem some reluctance in the rural community to stand and some do not want the commitment,” he said.

The council meets around seven to eight times a year in Casterton Village Hall, often on Monday evenings. 

People who live within three miles of the parish boundary can stand, or those who work in the parish or own property there.

Anyone in Casterton wanting to stand must contact SLDC or the parish council by 4pm today.