Updated 04-Jan-2023 by the clerk

2024 Royston Residents’ election / the Special Drainage District election

2024 Commoners/Stintholder Election

There will be vacancies to both the above positions in February 2024.

Candidates should read the information below, and if they are interested in standing should contact with the clerk by email on clerk@therfieldheath.org.uk.

The process of electing Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens is laid out in the Parliamentary Award of 1893. See a relevant extract at the bottom of this page

Three Conservators are elected by the Commoners, three by certain people of Royston. Additional Conservators are the Rector of Therfield and the Lord of the Manor.

The elected Conservators serve for 3 years and retire by rotation.

Proposing and seconding of Conservators

People wishing to stand as a Conservator need to be proposed and seconded by people who are eligible to vote in one of the elections.

People who wish to stand to represent Commoners will need to be proposed and seconded in writing by one of the registered stint holders. The current Commons Register is available from Herts County Council.

People who wish to stand as a Conservator for the people of Royston will need to be proposed and seconded in writing by someone who is eligible because they are “registered as a local government electors” in The Special Drainage District Of Royston according to the maps above.

It is a condition of standing that candidates complete a declaration of eligibility and agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please ensure this form is completed and submitted to the clerk with any nominations for election. In addition, candidates will be asked to submit a brief written summary of themselves and why they wish to be elected, to be published on this website in advance of the AGM.

Explanation of Commoners

The award of 1888 which enclosed the Heath gave stints, commoners rights, to landowners who had traditionally grazed the sheep on the Heath. These rights go with the land. Over the years the number of registered stint holders has reduced to 5. Although those five no longer exercise their right to graze sheep they continue to have the right to elect three Conservators.

Explanation of SDDR and Royston Residents

The award also specified the area of Royston that was at that time built upon. As Royston has grown, houses have now been built outside this area. However, the electorate is defined by the Charity’s 1888 Act of Parliament and that is the area we are required to use. In the Award, the people in Royston were defined as ‘the inhabitant ratepayers’. ‘Ratepayers’ became an outdated concept with the passage of time and in 1990 an Order was granted to amend the Charity’s 1888 Act, so the reference is now to those who are ‘registered as local government electors’, ie those who are on the electoral role for local government elections. That Area was referred to as the Special Drainage District of Royston and the original map is posted here.

North Royston Special Drainage District – outlined in red
South Royston Special Drainage District – outlined in red

February 2024 nominations

The election is set for Thursday 22nd February 2024.

The form you will need to complete for standing as a candidate for the SDDR Conservator position or the Commoners Conservator position is in the table below. The Word format is easier to complete electronically, or download and print the PDF which can be submitted as hardcopy, or scanned and emailed to the clerk.

To stand for election you only need to complete page 1. However if successful we would then ask that you complete page 2 which is why it is provided at this time so that you are aware, in advance, of the next steps.

Nomination form
2024 SDDR (Royston Residents) person nomination formWord (.docx) formatPDF
2024 Commoners (Stintholder) nomination formWord (.docx) formatPDF

Extract from the 1893 Award on the election process

“The term of Office of the elected Conservators […] shall be three years and the Conservator elected by the said Commoners and by the said Inhabitant Ratepayers respectively who has been longest in Office without re election shall go out each year 

Elections of Conservators in the place of those going out of Office shall be made by the said Commoners and by the said Inhabitant Ratepayers at meetings to be held in the month of February in every year and the names of those elected shall be intimated in writing to the Clerk of the Conservators 

The meetings of the said Commoners for the purpose aforesaid shall be convened by the Clerk of the Conservators by notice published at least fourteen days previously on the Church and Chapel Doors and on such other places in the said parish of Therfield as the Conservators shall direct and such notice shall be advertised in one or more of the local newspapers as the Conservators shall direct and the voting power of the Commoners at any such meeting shall be in proportion to the number of stints to which each commoner is entitled as determined by this Award. The meetings of the said Inhabitant Ratepayers shall be convened in the same manner as meetings of such body are by law required to be convened 

Any outgoing Conservator shall be eligible for re-election 

Any elected Conservator may at any time if so desirous resign his office on giving notice in writing under his hand of such desire to the Clerk of the Conservators and to the body by whom he was elected 

In the event of any vacancy in the number of elected Conservators by death resignation or otherwise between the times fixed for the election as aforesaid the remaining Conservators shall be as competent to act as if no such vacancy had occurred. Provided that the body by whom the vacating Conservator was elected shall as soon as conveniently may be elect some proper person to supply such vacancy but the person so elected shall retain his office only so long as the vacating Conservator would have retained the same if no vacancy had occurred and the name of the person so elected shall be intimated in writing to the Clerk of the Conservators”