Thousands want to see a major change to the timing of local elections in Swindon.

But there’s a very good chance their wish will not be granted.

Swindon Borough Council is looking into the possibility of moving away from its current cycle of elections. That sees a third of councillors voted in every year, followed by a fallow year. The mooted switch would see ‘all-out’ elections of all 57 councillors staged once every four years

Of 34,255 responses to a borough-wide consultation, 68.7 per cent (23,533) were in favour of all out elections and 10,722 people (31 per cent) voted for no change.

But the final decision needs two-thirds of councillors present at a special meeting in two weeks – that’s 38 if they all show up.

And while 31 Conservatives will support the change, Labour’s opposition looks set to scupper it.

Council leader David Renard said: “I’m impressed at the very large response, it’s good to see so many people have really engaged with this matter.

“It is an overwhelming majority in favour. The Conservative group, which was already strongly in favour of the change, has discussed it and will recommend that councillors vote to make the change.”

He added: “The benefits are that it saves money and time but also allows the council to plan and deliver a proper political programme. There’s a degree of paralysis every year because things might change, or people don’t want to make controversial decisions just before an election. This change will prevent that paralysis.”

Stan Pajak, the senior of two Lib Dem councillors, will support the move too.

He said: “My first role as a councillor was in the Liberal-SDP county council in the 1980s and we had four years to be able to plan and do things properly.

“At the moment we are always in an election year and the whole council goes to sleep almost in April while councillors go and campaign.”

But Labour will oppose the measure and has enough councillors to ensure it fails.

Group leader Jim Grant, said: “We will be opposing moving to all-out elections. Despite their being a preference for change amongst those who responded, only 19 per cent of residents actually responded to the consultation.

"Given everybody had a postal vote and a Freepost envelope, you would be expecting a much larger number of votes for it to suggest that a majority of residents would like to see this change. If this was a trade union ballot it would be declared null and void due to the low number of votes.

“We also do not believe moving to elections every four years is in the best interests of residents. It will lead to little public accountability of council decisions.

"The last thing we would want is four years of an unfettered, unaccountable Tory administration being able to do whatever they like with no public accountability.

“We saw in previous years where there have been no borough council elections that this is when the Conservatives take decisions unpopular with the public, like introducing expensive new parish councils which led to Swindon residents paying the largest council tax increase in the country.

"We have also seen elections that have led to changes in council policy due to an election result, notably the Conservatives opted against transferring Lydiard to the private sector after losing a seat in West Swindon.

"If we move to elections every four years we will lose all that.”

The special meeting will begin at 7pm on Thursday November 21.