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Proposals to move Pinkneys Green polling station come under fire

‘Absolutely nonsensical’ and ‘stupid’ proposals to move a polling station in Pinkneys Green have been slammed by ward councillors.

In new council plans, which follow changes to ward boundaries, the polling station at Pinkneys Green Youth and Community Centre in Blenheim Road could be moved to Pinkneys Green Cricket Club in Pinkneys Drive for the 2019 local elections.

The reason given for the move is to ensure a station is in a more central location within the ward.

Sections of Pinkneys Drive have no pavements, leading to concerns the new polling station would be difficult to reach for people with disabilities or those who struggle walking on uneven surfaces.

Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) said: “I really don’t understand why they would move it.

“You have to walk across the road, the pavement doesn’t even really go to the polling station – I can only think that they are trying to decrease the number of people that vote on this side of

the ward.”

Cllr Charles Hollingsworth, (The Borough First, Pinkneys Green) said that the station has not moved in more than 30 years and that the decision was ‘absolute nonsense’.

He agreed that the new station would be more central, but said that did not necessarily make it more convenient, adding that even residents who lived nearer the new polling station preferred the old venue.

He said: “If there’s any evidence that people aren’t voting in Blenheim Road, I would like to see it.”

Cllr Marius Gilmore (Con, Pinkneys Green), is chairman of the elector boundary review working group, and one of the people responsible for the new plans.

He said: “The working group was keen to use this review as an opportunity to boost voter engagement at elections and with this in mind we will carefully consider the consultation responses that we receive and will take very seriously any concerns raised about potential restriction of access to any members of the public.

“Our aim is to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to vote.

“As part of the consultation, we have invited residents, interested bodies, local community groups and political groups to make representations and we will be reviewing this feedback shortly.

“There is also the option for a further consultation should there be any significant changes following this review, before then going to Full Council to seek approval.

“We are particularly keen to hear how the proposed electoral arrangements might affect electors with a disability and I would encourage residents to engage with the process because our democracy is precious and we should all take an interest in ensuring it is as open and inclusive as possible.”

To give feedback on the review visit bit.ly/2xUHa5m

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