Change of polling station causes issues for ‘stranded’ residents

Suffolk residents have been struggling to get to their designated polling station Picture: GREGG BRO

Suffolk residents have been struggling to get to their designated polling station Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Suffolk villagers have spoken of their struggle to cast their vote in the general election after their usual polling station was switched to a nearby village.

Harkstead Village Hall usually doubles as a polling station, but was unavailable for the general ele

Harkstead Village Hall usually doubles as a polling station, but was unavailable for the general election Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Voters in Harkstead have historically used the village hall in Church Lane as their polling station for previous elections and referendums.

However, a change of the polling station to Holbrook Village Hall - two miles away - has caused anger due to poor transport links in rural Suffolk.

Resident Teresa Fyfe said: "The people of Harkstead and Lower Holbrook, unless they have their own transport, are stranded.

"Buses have been drastically cut back to one going each way to coincide with school times. Unless they want to be out for five hours, this is not terribly helpful.


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"This has affected the older generation and those have no cars or friends to help."

Richard Bevan added: "People have been saying it was short notice and awkward for the elderly to get to Holbrook. There have been people offering lifts."

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A spokesman for Harkstead Village Hall said the venue was already fully booked in the lead up to Christmas when the general election was called at the end of October.

The spokesman said: "The hall already had a pre-booking for this date."

Electoral Commission guidelines state a polling station, should be "within easy reach of all electors from across the polling district".

The guidelines also say each individual parish in England is to be a separate polling district "unless special circumstances apply".

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils confirmed the change had been clarified when distributing polling cards to constituents in the weeks prior to the election.

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