Hessle last had its own Urban District Council in 1936 when it was amalgamated with Anlaby, Willerby, Kirk Ella and Cottingham to form Haltemprice UDC which itself amalgamated with two other districts councils in 1974 to form Beverley Borough Council.After an interval of 50 years, 15 councillors were elected to a newly constituted Hessle Town Council on 13th March 1986. This followed an 8 year campaign by Hessle people to get its own council that was vehemently opposed by Beverley Borough.This campaign was led by Bob Tress, the late Alex Cullen and others. Alex was one of the original 15 councillors. Friends and family paid for and placed a seat at the top of Prestongate in Alex’s memory.
Of the original 15 councillors, 8 have since passed away. Only one has served since the geninning but two others have returned after a break in service.
50 candidates (17 women and 33 men) stood in the 1986 elections. The ballot paper, at 53 inches long, was thought to be a record. 3 women and 12 men were elected.
Because of the difficulties of selcting 15 votes from 50, Hessle was divided into 4 wards in time for the next elections in May 1991.
The first councillors served for 5 years instead of 4. This 5 year period was referred to as a ‘lustrum’ in the newly launched Hessle Town, the Councils newletter, delivered to all houses in Hessle.
The new wards were called Southfield, Westfield, Northfield (each with 4 seats) named after roads in each ward and Eastfield (3 seats). Most of these wards were contested in the subsequent quadrennial elections in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 and the ratio of women to men soon became 7:8 and 12:3 as it is now.