Agenda item

Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places and Polling Stations


A report of the Returning Officer was presented the purpose of which was to seek Members’ agreement to proposed interim changes to polling district boundaries and the locations of some polling stations. 


Section 17 of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 introduced a duty on local authorities to ‘carry out and complete’ reviews of polling districts and polling places between 1 October 2013 and 31 January 2015, and thereafter every five years.  The last review in Middlesbrough took place in October/November 2018.


The aim of a review was to seek that all electors had such reasonable facilities for voting as were practicable in the circumstances.  The Council must seek to ensure that, so far as was reasonable and practicable, the polling places they were responsible for were accessible to all electors, including those who were disabled, and when considering the designation of a polling place, must have regard to the accessibility needs of disabled persons.  Electoral Services also carried out an interim review before every scheduled election to assess regulatory compliance.


Since the 2018 review extensive housing development had taken place in the south of the borough.  The development in Trimdon Ward was catered for in the 2018 review by the provision of a new mobile station on Jack Simon Way.  However, since that review the Hemlington Grange development in Stainton and Thornton Ward had become occupied.  The increase in electorate in this ward since December 2018 was shown in Appendix 1 to the submitted report.


It was proposed to split the current PAM polling district in Stainton and Thornton Ward into two new districts – PAM and PBM.  PAM would cover the existing villages of Stainton and Thornton, with electors continuing to vote at the familiar polling station in Stainton Memorial Hall.  PBM polling district would cover the new Hemlington Grange development to the east of Stainton Village.  Unfortunately, there were no suitable buildings for use as a polling station in this area and so a mobile station was required.  Electoral Services and Streetscene staff had visited the area and identified a suitable location at the junction of Hemlington Grange Road and Ravensgill Road. Maps showing the existing and proposed arrangements were attached at  Appendix 2 to the submitted report.


As a consequence, the existing PBM polling district covering Hemlington Hall estate would be renamed PCM.  There would be no change to the polling arrangements in this district.  The Ward Councillor for Stainton and Thornton Ward had been consulted on the proposed changes.


Of the four polling stations in Central Ward, Abingdon Primary School already had the largest electorate.  This was due to the polling district being primarily formed of high density terraced housing.  Since the 2018 review,  a number of student Halls of Residence had opened in this polling district, with another large one under construction.  Therefore, the electorate in this polling district was now in excess of the 2,500 recommended by the Electoral Commission.


The current AC polling district in Central Ward would be split into two new districts, AC and AD.  This was as a result of the introduction of the Elections Act 2022, and the requirement for electors to produce Voter ID, which may result in queues, given the language barriers, when delivering Voter ID guidance and checking Voter ID.   Due to the compact nature of both the proposed new districts, Abingdon Primary School remained easily accessible from both polling districts and would be familiar to voters from previous elections.  Therefore, rather than create a new polling station the intention was to make the existing station at Abingdon Primary School a dual station to serve both polling districts.  The existing AD polling district would be renamed AE.  There would be no change to the polling arrangements in this district.


In Longlands and Beechwood Ward, the Swerve Tennis Centre was no longer available for use as a polling place.  Therefore, the polling place for the GD polling district would be moved from Swerve Table Tennis Centre to the adjacent St Thomas More’s Church Hall.  A map showing this change was attached at Appendix 3 to the submitted report.


AGREED as follows that:

1.         The report was received and noted.

2.         An additional polling place to serve the Hemlington Grange Development was established.

3.         A dual polling station at Abingdon Primary School was created.

4.         The polling place previously at Swerve Table Tennis Centre was moved to St. Thomas More’s Church Hall.

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