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Smallest polling station in district could be lost

PUBLISHED: 11:22 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:14 12 October 2020

Horsey Methodist Church, which has been used as a polling station, is at the end of the road pictured. Image: Google StreetView

Horsey Methodist Church, which has been used as a polling station, is at the end of the road pictured. Image: Google StreetView

Archant

The future of north Norfolk’s smallest and most remote place to vote is in doubt amid a council review of eight polling stations.

North Norfolk District Council papers suggest the school room at Horsey Methodist Church may no longer be used at election time, leaving the 49 voters in the community the option of either travelling to the next nearest polling place at Sea Palling 3.8 miles away or voting by post.

The council’s review paper say: “The cost of the village hall to hire is £80 and is staffed by one presiding officer and one poll clerk which in total costs £500 including training fees and expenses.

“At the recent parliamentary election, comment was made by two voters that they were surprised given the small population of the parish that a polling station was still provided in the village.”

Other polling places under review include Morston Village Hall (Blakeney Village Hall could be used instead); Sidestrand Reading Rooms (voters there could go to the new Trimingham Village Hall) and Ingworth Reading Room (Erpingham Village Hall could be used instead).

Voters in Bale would use the polling station at Gunthorpe Village Institute.

Voters at Sustead could go on using Hanworth Village Hall - as they did at the last election - and the polling station at Tunstead Primary School could be moved to the Horse and Groom pub.

Rob Henry, the council’s senior elections officer, said: “Following the three sets of elections held in 2019 we are reviewing arrangements in some of our smallest polling stations across the district.

“When reviewing, we assess the viability of the venue as a polling station against such criteria as the suitability of the building in terms of voter experience and staff comfort and safety, accessibility and whether the venue is cost effective and what alternatives there are.

“With each review, we make improvements for subsequent elections across the district”.

A consultation into the plans will run until November 2. People can find out more on the council’s website, or give their feedback by emailing elections@north-norfolk.gov.uk.

Clarification

*An earlier version of this story said Little Barningham Village Hall could be moved to Baconsthorpe Village Hall. However, the council’s plans are to keep Little Barningham Village Hall as a polling station for the community there. Voters from Matlaske had used the Little Barningham polling station until the December 2019 election, when they used Baconsthorpe Village Hall. Under the council’s plans they would go on voting at Baconsthorpe.


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