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Villagers face extra hike to vote in Cliviger
12:10pm Saturday 29th October 2011 in Cliviger
VILLAGERS in part of Cliviger will face an extra two mile hike to cast their vote after their polling station was axed.
The existing station at RACA Pavilion in Park Road will be moved to Cliviger Village Hall, off Burnley Road.
Burnley Borough Council has deemed the current station too small and cold, with restricted access for voters with mobility problems, meaning it had to be relocated.
But Coun Cosima Towneley, who represents the Cliviger with Worsthorne ward, said the move could mean fewer people will go out to vote at a time when they should be encouraging people to have their say.
"My concern is that yet again the rural community is not being given the consideration that other communities would be given,” she said.
"I am not saying that the other one was perfect but it is one day in the year - it is not for the comfort of the officers, it is for the benefit of the community.
“I call it disenfranchisement of a community.”
She added that voting had been held at the pavilion for as long as she could remember.
The Mayor of Burnley, Coun David Heginbotham, said that the current station’s small size meant that people could see how the person in front was voting.
He said: “Polling stations are convenient things to have but they are not going to suit everybody.
“We have to make sure that they are sufficiently secure and private.”
He offered proxy and postal voting as an alternative for those who would not be able to get to the new polling station.
Mayor Heginbotham added that other polling stations’ facilities were also being discussed but that the closure of RACA pavilion was the best decision for all involved.
“We discussed this building and we think to close it is the right thing to do,” he said.
The new station will be ready in time for the local elections in May 2012.