A ROW has broken out over the relocation of a polling station that could ‘disenfranchise’ the local electorate.
Ribble Valley Borough Council announced last week that it would relocate Billington’s polling station for the up-coming European elections to Billington and Langho Community Centre in Whalley Road.
Concerned residents have contacted the local borough councillors Ged Mirfin and Carl Ross to complain about a ‘lack of access’ for people who can’t drive or have no access to a car.
Following two meetings with the councillors, Ribble Valley Borough Council’s returning officer, Marshal Scott, said that the polling station would not be moved.
Coun Mirfin said: “I’m deeply disappointed that the council won’t listen to the people on this. It’s like they have accepted that it’s not a big deal. It could lead to people being disenfranchised.”
Sajjad Karim MEP, who lives in the Ribble Valley, said: “I am extremely concerned that the local authority has seen fit to move the polling station from Billington to a building a considerable distance from the village when there are a number of suitable options in the village.
“Local people are saying this will make it much more difficult for them to vote, particularly older and less mobile residents.
“It seems Ribble Valley Borough Council accept that this lack of suitability will affect turnout for the European election and will review the situation for next year's general election.”