Local elections scheduled for May should go ahead, Swindon Borough Council has said.

The Times reported on Monday that the government is working on a plan to delay the spring polls by anything between one and four months.

Swindon's local elections in 2020 were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Borough council, parish seats and Angus Macpherson's Police and Crime Commissioner role are scheduled to be up for grabs in less than four months' time.

A council spokesman said: “We have been in regular contact with the government about the arrangements for this year’s local elections and, at this time, the guidance we have received is they will go ahead as planned on May 6.

“We will continue to liaise closely with the government as it is important the local elections are carried out as safely as possible.

“Measures will be in place to ensure polling stations are safe for voters, and voters without a postal vote can apply now to give the council plenty of time to process applications."

Elections are run by Swindon Borough Council, with chief executive officer Susie Kemp also acting as returning officer.

Council leader David Renard said: “The Conservative group is keen to see the outstanding elections held as soon as possible as long as they can be held safely and fairly, which is ultimately a decision for government in consultation with the returning officers.

“In Swindon we currently have one vacancy on the borough council; some councillors who were intending to not seek re-election last May but have continued to serve and some who were last elected in 2016 and who want the opportunity to renew their democratic mandate.

“There are also outstanding elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner and parish councils which need to be held.

"It is important that any vacancies can be filled, or democratic mandates renewed as soon as practicable.”

Labour group leader Jim Grant added: “What’s important whether the elections go ahead or are postponed is that the decision is made sooner rather than later so that everyone is completely aware of what’s happening are as soon as possible.

“We are relying on the vaccination rollout. If it can be done completely successfully and quickly then elections will be sooner.

“It’s a matter for the Cabinet Office to decide in the end, but we need a decision early.”

There are only 56 councillors in the 57-seat council.

When Labour councillor for Rodbourne Cheney Des Moffatt died in November 2019 it was decided to leave the post vacant until the following May.

At least three councillors, Vera Tomlinson (Conservatives, St Andrew), Bob Wright (Labour, Central) and Fay Howard (Labour, Liden, Elden and Park South), all intended to step down last May.

And so did Wiltshire PCC Mr Macpherson after eight years in the job.

As he approached the ninth anniversary of his election, he said: “ “I am aware of speculation that the May elections might need to be postponed but I want to reassure the public that I will continue in my post as Police and Crime Commissioner until such time as the elections can happen safely and my successor elected.

“As I said last year when the elections were postponed for twelve months, public safety is paramount, and nothing should compromise this.

“The role of PCCs in representing the public and bringing together our partner agencies remains crucial.

“It is also vitally important that I ensure the Chief Constable has what he needs to continue to deliver an effective and efficient service to our communities.

“I would urge everyone to continue to adhere to the government restrictions – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Find out how to apply at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter