The voters of Instow will wake up tomorrow (Friday, May 3) with no parish council and facing a new election process following complaints of ‘bullying and intimidation’.

Today people across North Devon are voting for their district and parish councillors.

But some parish councils and individual parish wards do not have enough candidates nominated for election, making the council 'inquorate' and meaning the election process will have to be re-run.

The inquorate councils will be Kentisbury, Molland and Parracombe, but Instow looks set to be in the same boat.

A further 21 parish wards have enough people to fill the seats, but they will be elected to their council unopposed.

Another 29 wards across the district have enough candidates to meet the minimum requirements, but more councillors will have to be co-opted onto the council after the election.

At Instow, almost all of the previous sitting councillors bar one have decided not to stand for re-election, so the only names on the ballot paper are Pearl Hackett, Shooey Maccall and Kathy Stanbury, so will be elected unopposed.

But Mrs Stanbury has told the Gazette she has already given notification she will not take up her seat, which will render the council inquorate and a second election will be needed.

She said: "I did tell the parish council at the last meeting that I was going to withdraw my name.

"I felt I was doing the right thing for the village. I wanted there to be an election, not a co-option, so that people could put themselves forward and be elected."

She said the issue of dogs on the beach had been the 'start of the nastiness', adding: "I only know from lots of hearsay, but councillors have people knocking on their doors, being rude, all sorts of things.

"I and a lot of councillors that would have liked to stay on the council have not been able to get on with their job properly. They were getting a lot of hassle and the meetings were being interrupted with constant loud voices, so why do it?"

In his speech to the annual parish meeting in April, outgoing chairman Brian Moores said it had been 'a very challenging term'.

Thanking many of the councillors, he said: "This PC (parish council), in spite of consistent, undermining bullying and intimidation within and outside the village has achieved a great deal, and a lot of it due to the personal commitment of some councillors.

"In my opinion, this village has lost a good, previously cohesive council, representing its residents with their individual skills, and I would like to thank them for their support."