Fewer Wolverhampton schools to be used as polling stations from 2020
A review of polling stations and districts in Wolverhampton designed to stop children missing a day at school has been agreed by city council bosses.
Following a public consultation, plans to designate the city’s polling stations and districts for 2020-25 were carried at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, with a view to implementing any new proposals in January 2020.
Council leader Councillor Ian Brookfield said: “This has come at the end of a long process that has gone out to full public and internal consultation. All the submissions that we have had have been noted.
“The main priority on this particular round of the review was to realise that we really shouldn’t be depriving our children of a day at school anymore when we use them as polling places.
“Obviously, due to the geography of the city, there will always be one or two. But we really want our children to benefit from the full use of their education.
“Also, the removal of temporary polling stations is an ideal move. Again, we will have one or two, but there is a minor saving being made with that.
“And if there are any further matters that come up in the next few months, there’s delegation to the chief executive and myself to make the appropriate changes."
Opposition leader Councillor Wendy Thompson said: “I agree with Councillor Brookfield that obviously we shouldn’t be using schools.
“The first point that I would make is that sometimes it is extremely difficult to get a reasonable siting for a polling station, and some areas are more difficult than others.
“Wolverhampton has actually been terribly slow in doing something about this issue in comparison to neighbouring areas, and I always wondered why we were using schools when other local authorities were not.
“It’s good to see that it’s now at a minimum, and I hope there will be none being used in the future. It’s not only for the benefit of our children’s education, it’s important for parents as well – not to have dates thrust upon them when they have to find childcare.
“The other point I would like to make is that in the general election, greater numbers turn out – and if the weather is poor and it is naturally cold or raining, then there’s the possibility of large queues building up, which is going to be detrimental,” she added.
“We also need to ensure there is proper access for people who are disabled, even though there are a lot who are choosing to use postal voting now.”