VOTERS will go to the polls to fill a vacant seat in a council’s only election tomorrow (Thursday May 2).

The election takes place for one of the three Houghton ward seats, in Houghton-le-Spring, on Sunderland City Council.

It follows the death of Labour councillor Kath Rolph, who served on the council from 2002.

She lost her fight against cancer in December, at the age of 59.

Unlike neighbouring Durham, where there is a full county council election, there was no scheduled election involving the city council this year.

The council is elected by a system of thirds, with polls in three of every four years, but this year was the designated “fallow” year.

Gemma Taylor is defending the Houghton seat for Labour, with Independent candidate John Ellis expected to provide stiff opposition, hoping to join his wife Sheila in the council chamber.

She holds one of the other two seats in the ward, while ex-city Mayor Dennis Richardson, of Labour, is the other local member.

Sue Sterling fights the seat for the Liberal Democrats, while George Edward Brown is the Conservative candidate and Edward Ernest Coleman-Hughes stands for the UK Independent Party.

The count takes place at Dubmire Primary School in Fencehouses shortly after the polls close at 10pm.

Labour holds 64 seats on the council, with eight Conservatives and three Independents, all in Houghton and the neighbouring Copt Hill wards.