Monday, 21 August 2017

Leave town’s polling stations where they are, advises council

HENLEY councillors voted to keep the town’s polling stations in their current locations despite the fact they are under review

HENLEY councillors voted to keep the town’s polling stations in their current locations despite the fact they are under review by the district council.

They are currently based in the town hall and Henley Leisure Centre, in Gillotts Lane, for the north ward and in Trinity Hall in Harpsden Road and the Christchurch Centre, in Reading Road for the south ward.

South Oxfordshire District Council is carrying out a formal review of polling districts, places and stations in April next year.

Officers will visit polling stations this summer and have invited parish and town councils to give their views on the current arrangements.

At a meeting of the council’s finance strategy and management committee, councillors suggested making alterations but they eventually elected to retain the status quo.

Councillor David Nimmo Smith said the leisure centre was not technically in the Henley ward and belonged to Harpsden, which Councillor Ian Reissmann believed was illegal.

The district council is also carrying out a community governance review, which includes an assessment of boundaries, and Councillor Jeni Wood said this would be carried out before the polling review.

One of the changes may include moving the centre into the Henley ward.

Cllr Nimmo Smith added: “I actually thought the Christ Church Centre worked really well and I would like to see the whole of Henley south be in the centre.”

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak disagreed, arguing that there were parking problems in the centre because other events were held there.

He said Trinity Hall should be the only station used by the south ward.

Councillor Will Hamilton said: “The key thing is people get used to where they vote. What we’ve done over the last 10 years is keep changing them.”

Valley Road Primary School was previously used but was changed because it had to be closed for the day.

Cllr Hamilton said that particular change was necessary but believed there should be no more alterations.

The council voted by five members to four to propose to the district council that no changes are made.

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