THE date for a by-election to fill a seat left vacant by the shock resignation of a stalwart councillor has been set.

Pencilled in for March 14, a vote will be held to determine who the next Coxford member will be, following the departure of Keith Morrell, who had represented the ward since 2010.

However, the vote will only be held if the seat is contested, meaning two or more people come forward.

If just one candidate stands, they will take the seat.

Following the election, the winner will serve the remaining term of the seat, which ends in 2021.

However, before Coxford ward locals can vote they must be on the register of electors or electoral roll.

Those who are will receive poll cards with further details.

As reported, former-councillor Morrell made the decision to quit at the start of January, just eight months into his new term.

The shock move also came just seven months after he made the decision to – along with his group’s other two members Don Thomas and Tammy Thomas, to disband Putting People First so the trio could “pursue their own political directions”.

Mr Morrell also claimed that it was “business as usual” despite the split, with the members adding they would still fight “tooth and nail” for their constituents.

But, the former group chief has not revealed why he has taken the shock decision to stand down, which now leaves the ward with just two of its three Southampton City Council seats filled – held by the Thomas’s.

Just a day later, Councillor Don Thomas also announced he would be leaving the role by not standing for the seat in the upcoming May elections.

In a moving letter to constituents, Coxford councillor Don Thomas thanked those who have voted for him since he took office in 2007, adding “I have made so many friends; too much to name on this one piece of paper”.