Thornes Park Stadium fire: Wakefield local elections count may be held away from venue for first time in years

Wakefield Council is looking at alternative arrangements for this year's local elections count, with its usual venue likely to be closed for the next three months.

Friday, 6th March 2020, 4:19 pm
Updated Friday, 6th March 2020, 4:21 pm

The fire-stricken Thornes Park Athletics Stadium, on the outskirts of the city centre, has been used to tot up and announce the results of every local and national election for years.

Many long-serving councillors and MPs, including Mary Creagh, have found themselves out of a job while standing in the stadium's cavernous sports hall in recent times.

But a suspected arson attack in February has put most of the building out of action for the next 12 weeks, such is the extent of the damage.

The blaze at the stadium, on February 26, has caused extensive damage.

The council hopes part of the stadium may be fit to host the count for both local election and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which both place on Thursday, May 7.

But contingency plans are being put in place if it fails to make the grade.

Returning officer Gillian Marshall said on Friday the council was "Currently considering alternative venues for May’s local and PCC election counts should Thornes Park Stadium remain unavailable at the time."

Vote counting after polling day is normally carried out on the indoor athletics track at the ground.

A total 21 council seats are being contested in Wakefield at the election, 18 of which are currently held by Labour.

Local Democracy Reporting Service