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Thetford councillor calls for opinions on polling station

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A Thetford Town councillor is urging residents of an estate to voice their opinions about a polling station that only one of its three streets can use.

Terry Jermy, who is also a Breckland and Norfolk County councillor, found that people in St Martin's Way and Canon's Walk, on the Redcastle Estate, had to go else where to vote.

He said: "These residents voted for many years at Redcastle Community Centre (now Meet Up Cafe). This was changed to St Mary's Catholic Church at Newtown - many affected were disappointed, with some opting not to vote as a result.

Councillor Mike Brindle, Mike Towndrow, manager of Meet Up Café, with councillors Chris Harvey and Terry Jermy on the Redcastle Estate (16202232)
Councillor Mike Brindle, Mike Towndrow, manager of Meet Up Café, with councillors Chris Harvey and Terry Jermy on the Redcastle Estate (16202232)

"If you consider the shops opposite Meet Up Cafe and the flats above are Canon's Walk, you get a sense of the closeness and can understand people's frustration."

Due to a ward boundary change, the Newtown polling station is around a half-a-mile walk away and voters have to cross London Road, the main road that goes through the town, to get there- whereas St John's Way voters kept the original station.

Cllr Jermy feels this is an important issue as talk of a possible general election is in the news and would like to see an alternative to aid all of the estate's residents.

He said: "What we're suggesting is that it should be a split polling station to accommodate both wards (Burrell ward for Canon's Walk and St Martin's Way and Priory ward for St John's Way)- the polling station at Station Road's Mormon Church, in Thetford, is a good example. It covers two different areas- so its not impossible to make it easier for residents to vote."

Another issue Cllr Jermy has received from voters in the town is difficulty from residents in St Michael's Close to travel to Fulmerston Church and he has suggested that St Mary's Catholic Church, in Newtown, would be better for them or perhaps an additional polling station in that vicinity.

Breckland Council is currently conducting a public consultation to review ward boundaries, polling stations and polling districts and are welcoming residents opinions.

Maxine O'Mahony, Breckland Council's returning officer, said: "We're inviting people to tell us what they think about their current polling station's location, parking, disability access, and facilities and, if necessary, suggest alternative venues nearby that we can consider going forward.

"This will help us to ensure local polling stations remain suitable and as convenient as possible for voters in upcoming elections."

If you wish to comment, you can contact Breckland Council, by emailing elections@breckland.gov.uk.

Alternatively, write to- Electoral Services, Breckland Council, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1GX. Responses to the council must be received before September 11.