Town residents wanting to vote in the forthcoming local elections are facing a three mile trip to the polling station – despite there being a station just yards away from their homes.
A number of voters in Longden Road have for years been able to vote at Kingsland Grange School on Old Roman Road – but thanks to new boundaries drawn up by a central government committee they now have to travel to Woodfield Primary School in Copthorne to cast their vote.
Unitary and town council candidate Judith Williams said she had already been approached by 11 residents in her ward who could not drive, who were asking for a lift to the polling station. The Kingsland polling station will not be used for the June 4 elections.
Shirehall officials have said they cannot change the boundaries or designated polling stations, and have claimed they have tried to make polling stations accessible to all.
Mrs Williams said: “Years ago people who lived in Longden Road from Kingsland School to the brewery flats were in my ward and they used to vote at the school, but now they’ve got to go to Woodfield School. People are calling me, really upset, saying ‘I haven’t got a car – how am I supposed to get to vote?’
“We’re quite happy to give people a lift to the polling station but the number of people asking for a lift is much higher than ever this year because people have either got to get a postal vote in or get to the station somehow.
“I just feel sorry for those people who are out on a limb over there. The normal stroll down to the polling station is being taken out of their remit.”
Mrs Williams said she contacted the Shirehall about the problem but was told it was unavoidable because of the boundary changes drawn up by the central government boundaries committee last year. As a result she was told there was nothing that Shropshire Council can do to alter the polling station or the boundary.
Richard Thomas, democratic services manager at Shropshire Council, said: “As it is an election for a new council – Shropshire Council – the boundaries are different to previous elections so your polling station may have changed.
“We have done our best to make the polling stations accessible for everyone, but if you are still unable to get to your polling station, simply give us a call and we can arrange for you to have a postal vote.”
To register for a postal vote application form call 0345 678 9015. The deadline to receive completed application forms is 5pm on Tuesday, May 19.