Hundreds of people in Wakefield 'will not be able to vote' after polling station moved

Hundreds of people could be unable to vote in the general election after their polling station was moved just three weeks before the vote.

Gwen Ward, who lives in Streethouse, has voted in the village for 56 years, but has been told she will need to cast her vote at Girnhill Infant School, Featherstone.

Gwen Ward, who lives in Streethouse, has voted in the village for 56 years, but has been told she will need to cast her vote at Girnhill Infant School, Featherstone.

Gwen Ward, who lives in Streethouse, has voted in the village for 56 years, but has been told she will need to cast her vote at Girnhill Infant School, Featherstone.

She said: “I’ve been talking to people and they’ve said they can’t vote. We’ve voted here for 56 years and now they’ve altered it on a whim.

“If you get a bus it drops you off and then you’ve got half a mile to walk.

“I think it’s an utter disgrace.”

Wakefield Council confirmed that they would move the affected voters back to the Streethouse district before the local elections in May.

But Mrs Ward fears that hundreds of older residents in the village may be unable to vote in the general election next month, as they will be unable to travel to the new polling station.

She estimates that as many as 250 people, many of whom live in retirement properties in the village, will be unable to travel to the new polling station.

Postal vote applications were sent to the affected properties, but did not arrive until after the postal vote application deadline had passed, Mrs Ward said.

Gillian Marshall, Acting Returning Officer for Wakefield Council, said: “We identified that a number of streets had previously been incorrectly added to the polling district served by Streethouse School when they should have been in the polling district served by Girnhill Infant School.

"This is based on the current polling district boundary lines. As a result these electors were automatically ‘moved’ into the correct polling district.

“We know that this is an issue for some of our residents and as a result, we have sent out postal vote application forms to all of the affected properties to try and make sure that they do not miss out on voting – if they are not able to vote at their new polling station.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused but would like to reassure those affected that we will be able to redraw the boundary so that voters will once again be able to vote at Streethouse School.

"Although this cannot be resolved before the general election, it will be amended before the local elections in May.”