Yorkshire voters may have to use polling stations in "more unusual locations" in first December General Election since 1923

Ballot boxes are carried into the hall at the Richard Dunn Centre, Bradford, for counting in the 2015 General Election. Pic: Bruce RollinsonBallot boxes are carried into the hall at the Richard Dunn Centre, Bradford, for counting in the 2015 General Election. Pic: Bruce Rollinson
Ballot boxes are carried into the hall at the Richard Dunn Centre, Bradford, for counting in the 2015 General Election. Pic: Bruce Rollinson
Alternative polling stations have had to be found by Yorkshire's council chiefs for the upcoming General Election because the existing venues were already in use for pre-Christmas events.

A small proportion of venues that town halls had hoped to use for the first December election since 1923 were not available, though the region's authorities have secured their first choice of venue for the election counts.

Yorkshire's biggest authority, Leeds City Council, will be using the First Direct Arena for its election count on December 12, the night after Rod Stewart plays at the venue.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chief executive Tom Riordan said: "It’s always going to be a big logistical feat organising a large election covering eight constituencies and this time of year provides extra challenge in that some small venues we’d normally use for polling are already booked for Christmas activities.

Read More
More than £2m to help regenerate 16 Yorkshire towns is 'pre-election stunt', say...

"Our officers are working to secure replacements and venues will be found, but electors may find themselves voting in different, and more unusual locations than usual.”

Elsewhere in the region, councils contacted by The Yorkshire Post said the majority of the polling stations they hoped to use were available. But they would have to wait until schools return from half-term holidays to confirm some of the sites.

In a small number of cases new polling stations will have to be found. East Riding of Yorkshire Council, which will be administering the elections in the constituencies of MPs Sir Greg Knight, David Davis and Graham Stuart, said so far alternative plans were required for just four out of 213 venues.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Harrogate council said: "Thanks to all the efforts our local community groups making their facilities available at short notice, all bar one polling station will remain the same as previous."

And Barnsley council said only one of its 151 polling stations was found to be unavailable so far. This is Emmanuel Methodist Church on Huddersfield Road, which has a large concert on December 13 with preparations "well advanced" on election day.

It comes as a poll suggests that around one in 12 primary school teachers fears the election is set to disrupt nativity plays and Christmas concerts.

The poll by Teacher Tapp of 1,481 state primary teachers, first reported by Schools Week, found that almost one in five said their school will be used as a polling station. And around seven per cent said a fun activity, such as a concert, party or nativity play would now be disrupted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Of all the local authorities contacted by The Yorkshire Post, nearly all said they had secured their preferred choice for the election counts.

The only exception was Selby, where a council spokesman said: "We’re looking at a different count venue, but this is for reasons of space, rather than because of Christmas."

A spokeswoman for Bradford council said several of its premises were used as count centres "and these were already placed on standby for a possible December parliamentary election”, but declined to provide further details.

James Henderson, Deputy Returning Officer for Sheffield City Council said: "We are currently in the process of booking over 200 polling stations that will be used across the 6 Sheffield constituencies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We aim to have that process completed by early next week. As far as possible, we will look to operate from the same polling stations as usual but we may have to look at alternatives for any that are unavailable.

"Voters are asked to check their poll cards carefully as this will include the polling station that they need to use. The deadline for new voter registrations is Tuesday 26th November – this can be done simply and quickly online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote."

Confirmed count venues in Yorkshire include:

- Energise Leisure Centre, York

- First Direct Arena, Leeds

- The English Institute Of Sport, Sheffield

- East Riding Leisure centres in Driffield, Beverley and Haltemprice

- North Bridge Leisure Centre in Halifax

- The Barnsley Metrodome

- Hambleton Leisure Centre in Northallerton

- The Guildhall, Hull

- The Grand Hall at Scarborough Spa