With the disqualification of a Ledbury Town Councillor, due to non-attendance, the council is now running at exactly half-strength.

But with remaining councillors now looking at ways to possibly double their numbers, the warning from the mayor, Cllr Phillip Howells, is that there is no guarantee that any potential candidates will be accepted.

Of the nine vacancies, eight look set to be filled by co-option, at a date still to be decided, with existing councillors deciding who should fill the vacant seats.

But speaking at last week's full town council meeting, Cllr Howells said of the co-option process: "If eight turn up for eight vacancies, we can co-opt all, or none. We need not elect anyone".

Discussing the process, Cllr Dee Knight warned: "I think we'll upset a few people in town."

Tim Rae-Clarke has been disqualified from being a Ledbury town councillor because the last meeting he attended was on June 13. He is disqualified for "non-attendance" in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972. Town clerk, Angie Price reported that "no correspondence has been received from Cllr Rae-Clarke and no request for a dispensation not to attend meetings has been received". But Mrs Price is to make another attempt to contact Mr Rae-Clarke, to let him know of the decision.

The town council is waiting to hear from Herefordshire Council as to whether an election will be required to fill the vacancy left by Mr Rae-Clarke.

If so, one seat could be filled by an election and the others by co-option, because Herefordshire Council has already advised co-option for the eight long-standing vacancies. Those seats have been vacant since last May.

With both a single election and co-option on the cards, Cllr Liz Harvey said it could be "quite a confusing situation for people to get their heads around".