COUNCILLORS seeking re-election in a district rated the best place to live in England are facing losing their seats as the number of authority members is slashed.

Fifty-five candidates, including 24 Conservatives, 11 Independents, seven Labour, seven Liberal Democrat, five Green and one UK Independence, will contest wards in Richmondshire on May 2.

The local authority serving the district, crowned England’s best by the Halifax Quality of Life Survey 2019, will be cut from 34 to 24 members after a review by the independent Local Government Boundary Commission.

While many of the candidates are seeking election for the first time, Gilling West, Scotton and Leyburn are among the new-look wards where there are more previously elected councillors than available seats after May 2.

Croft and Middleton Tyas and Richmond West will be among the most fiercely contested wards, both with six candidates for two available seats.

At the last election in 2015 there were 78 candidates standing for the 34 seats, which resulted in 23 Conservatives, five Richmondshire Independents, four Independents, one Ungrouped Liberal Democrat and one Ungrouped Independent being elected.