Agenda item

Polling District Review Report

To consider the outcome of the recent review of polling districts and places, as required by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013.



Councillor Boden presented the Polling Districts and Polling Places Review.


Councillor Boden made the point that this exercise had been undertaken recently so although it is a legal requirement for there to be a review at this time there was little that had to be changed. He stated that the main changes are in March South where there has been an increase in polling districts to reflect the significant residential expansion that is being made in this area and additionally in Wimblington parish it was no longer possible for a separate location to be found for residents of Stonea to vote so the whole of the parish of Wimblington will now vote together at Wimblington Village Hall.


Councillor Boden referred to two significant concerns in Whittlesey with the original report that was produced, the first was the suggestion that the residents of Turves would need to go to Coates to vote and the second was the lack of suitable polling stations in the Whittlesey North West ward. He stated that he was pleased that, with a lot of hard work from officers, that a location has been found in a private residential house in Turves and a location has been found for the eastern most of the two polling districts in Whittlesey North West, with it being possible to continue to have two polling stations to cover a two member ward.


Councillor Boden thanked the officers who played a large part in getting the report to this position.


Councillor Miscandlon seconded the proposal and the item was opened up for debate.  Members made comments as follows:

·         Councillor Booth stated that he is happy with the majority of the report but one area he has concern with is regarding the polling station for Guyhirn. He referred to Page 89 of the pack where it contains the response from Wisbech St Mary Parish Council and their recommendation was to move it to the community room because that is now established and recognised within Guyhirn as a hub, with it having a very active committee and the reason why it has been discounted again is that it was previously visited and if it had been visited recently officers would have found that the Parish Council have undertaken a lot of work on the access, there is more street lighting and an enlarged car park at the front of the facility. Councillor Booth referred to the fact that it says the tarmac roadway is blocked off, but it is not necessarily blocked off, it is locked and that can be overcome and there will be additional car parking outside the community room as the Parish Council is going through the process of expanding that car parking. He expressed the opinion that it is a pity that officers have not actually engaged with the community to see what has happened, with much of this taking place over the last year and he would like to see this report amended so that the community room at Guyhirn is included as a potential polling place as a lot of work has been undertaken to make it more accessible and there is more work ongoing, with it, in his view, being a suitable venue.

·         Councillor Miscandlon recognised how difficult it has been for officers to find appropriate polling stations throughout the area and he knows particularly the one in Turves, both Councillor Boden and himself drove around the area trying to find a solution so he is grateful to the household that has offered the premises as a polling station. He referred to the one that Councillor Booth has just mentioned he does not know whether that can be altered or whether it is appropriate enough, officers have obviously looked at it and turned it down at this moment in time, but it may come forward in future. Councillor Miscandlon stated he supports the recommendations wholeheartedly, he stated that it is known for a fact in Turves that the original polling station at the Three Horseshoes was central to the village, the new one is at the Old School House which is right down the other end of the village so people in Turves are slightly inconvenienced by the new polling station but it is in the village so they do not have to travel to Coates.

·         Councillor Booth requested clarification as the point he was making is that the location in Guyhirn was made in a previous review and there have been substantial changes made to the access road and if officers worked with the Community Centre Committee they would make the tarmac access way open and they are very engaged in holding events at this new facility which is why he is concerned that they have not been engaged with.

·         Councillor Boden stated that it would have been helpful to have heard about this before the meeting so officers could have had the opportunity to rectify this prior. He made the point that the actual allocation of polling places at any election is the responsibility of the Returning Officer and he has to be satisfied that what is being proposed is acceptable and that is why it is not possible to make this change at this time. Councillor Boden advised, however, he is happy to agree, if acceptable to Councillor Booth, that the Guyhirn Community Room be included as an option subject to further investigation by the Returning Officer and if that change could be delegated to the Returning Officer and himself to consider and if it is acceptable then this location will be inserted within the list of polling places.

·         Councillor Booth indicated that he was happy with that proposal.


Proposed by Councillor Boden, seconded by Councillor Miscandlon and AGREED to

·         note the outcome of the review and the consultation undertaken;

·         approve the changes recommended to polling districts and polling places as detailed in the report at Appendix C; and

·         delegate authority to the Returning Officer and the Leader to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of using the Guyhirn Community Room as the polling place for Guyhirn.

Supporting documents: