Six households in Moreton Hall in Bury St Edmunds are having to vote in Rougham
- Credit: Archant
A bizarre boundary issue means six households on a Bury St Edmunds estate can no longer vote for their local candidates.
In a ward boundary error, residents in Primack Road and Mortimer Road, on the eastern edge of Moreton Hall, have been able to vote for Moreton Hall candidates in the local and general elections.
But this year they were surprised to see their polling cards said Rougham – with their polling station about two-and-a-half miles away from their homes.
Graham West, of Primack Road, who is on the committee of the Moreton Hall Residents’ Association, is one of those affected and described the farce as “absolutely ridiculous”.
He said: “We have no idea who our representatives are in Rougham. We have no physical connection, no mental connection, with Rougham. We have no knowledge whatsoever about what happens in Rougham.”
St Edmundsbury Borough Council says it has corrected the error, and these households should have been voting in Rougham all along.
Mr West, 62, who has lived with wife Jenny, 63, in Primack Road since 2010, said he would vote in the general election, but he did not feel he could take part in the local election.
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“I could go along and cast a vote, but it would be like wearing a blindfold and I couldn’t really do that. It wouldn’t be right.”
Independent Moreton Hall candidate Trevor Beckwith said he has put in a complaint to St Edmundsbury and also raised the issue with the Boundary Commission for England.
He described the situation as “barmy,” saying these residents are being deprived of their local vote.
“It’s democratic for people to vote for their own representative. They don’t want to vote for a representative in a village that’s got no affinity with Moreton Hall whatsoever.”
The electoral boundary line was consulted on in 1999 and has been effective since 2001.
A St Edmundsbury spokesman said there had been no obvious feature, such as a road or a river, to help with the boundary line so “a straight line was drawn between the railway and A14 so as to include the predicted housing development at that time”.
He said it was last year, during a borough council review of polling district boundaries, that it was spotted that the six properties had been listed on the electoral register in the wrong polling district.
“The error was corrected and the properties are now in the correct polling district, pending the next review of parish boundaries later in 2015 when these householders will be fully consulted on how they wish to be represented in the future.”
The Moreton Hall estate is still growing, with about 500 homes planned as part of the Vision 2031 local plan.
The fact the six households have technically been voting in the wrong ward would not have affected the results of the last local and general elections in 2011.
•The other candidates for the Moreton Hall ward in the St Edmundsbury Borough Council elections are: Terry Buckle (Conservative), Peter Thompson (Conservative), Frank Warby (Conservative) and Cliff Hind (Labour).