Calderdale councillors concerned by the loss of many schools as polling stations

The loss of many schools as polling stations is concerning some Calderdale councillors.
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Councillors heard schools were down to 11 in terms of the numbers used as polling stations.

Officers said the Government had made it clear in 2017 to all returning officers that they were to come away from schools as far as possible and look for alternative premises.

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Coun Paul Bellenger. Picture: Phill ConnellCoun Paul Bellenger. Picture: Phill Connell
Coun Paul Bellenger. Picture: Phill Connell
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This was because if schools had to close to allow polling to take place children lost their education that day.

In some schools it had been possible for schools to continue with their day because a separate entrance could be used for polling.

But ultimately it was up to schools, their decision whether to allow their premises to be used for polling.

It was not always easy and difficulty in finding polling stations meant some were having to “double up”, an example being at Todmorden Town Hall, officers said.

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Coun Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) asked what the council could do to ensure schools remained as polling stations.

The council had gone out of its way to ensure school life could continue as normal where it could, while premises were used for polling, he said.

“It is interfering with democracy.

“It is putting people off, because some of those places are more accessible than some of the places we are looking at now.

“These are the voters who would rather go out and put their votes in that box,” he said.

Calderdale Council’s Governance and Business Committee were reviewing polling stations – this is done regularly.