Residents 'put off voting' by polling station arrangements, Lynn councillors claim
Some Lynn residents have been put off from voting because they could not do so in the complex of elderly people’s flats where they live, two councillors have claimed.
An interim review of polling station arrangements in West Norfolk has called for existing arrangements affecting voters in the Springwood ward to remain in place for May’s local elections.
That means voters would have to go to Minster Court in nearby Fairstead or the King’s Lynn Bowls Club in Beulah Street, Gaywood, depending on where they live.
Senior officials say the issue will be looked at again before the review is finalised next year.
But Fairstead ward councillors Gary Howman and Margaret Wilkinson have branded the proposals “unreasonable and confusing” and have called for change.
In papers published ahead of a borough council cabinet meeting next Tuesday, where the issue is set to be considered, Mr Howman said the polling station was in a communal area for Minster Court residents.
He wrote: “At previous elections, complaints were made from residents in Minster Court that they couldn’t vote in the polling station on their own doorstep as it was reserved for other voters.
“They were understandably irritated and confused by this. I believe several people were deterred from voting because of this unreasonable situation. The situation makes us as a council look illogical and unhelpful to voters. I think this anomaly should be corrected.”
But council chief executive Ray Harding, who also acts as the borough’s returning officer, said the authority “is minded” to amend the arrangements to allow Minster Court residents to vote there.
He added that the authority was deferring consideration of a new polling station for Springwood to enable voters to be consulted.
He said: “This will be taken forward May 2019-January 2020 in readiness for the finalisation of the review.”
The Gaywood Church Rooms and Community Centre have been put forward as possible alternatives, along with the Holy Family Catholic Church. Mr Howman says all three sites will be part of the Springwood ward under boundary changes which will be in place for May's elections.