Campaign to keep polling station open

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RESIDENTS of Kingoldrum are rallying together in an attempt to have their polling station at the local village hall retained by Angus Council.

They are putting their “X” firmly against closure of the Kingoldrum polling station, which would force voters to travel to the Northmuir Hall in Kirriemuir to vote. A campaign on the hall committee’s website is urging all those who use the rural station to contact the local authority as part of its consultation on polling arrangements.

Kirriemuir and Dean councillor Ian Mackintosh, who regularly votes at the polling station near his home, has also given his backing for its retention, warning its closure would be “another death in the community.”

The website claims details given by the council to back up the proposed closure contain substantial inaccuracies.

They highlight the lack of suitable bus services to transport voters to and from the Northmuir polling station, stating the bus services quoted by the council do not run on polling day (Thursday). They point out some older voters in the area do not have their own transport so will be unable to reach Northmuir. Claims the hall does not have suitable disabled access have also been refuted as they point out disabled people can, and do, access the hall without significant difficulty, including those in wheel chairs.

Their website states this is “yet another service being withdrawn from a rural community.”

Local resident Elspeth Hobson, who is organising a petition, spoke out against the planned closure stating: “There are about 145 on the electoral register; about 60 voted at Kingoldrum and 20 by postal vote. The council say there’s no disabled access but we have people coming in with zimmers; there is a back door people in wheelchairs can use. Cars can reverse down to the hall.” Those wishing to sign the petition can contact Elspeth on (01575 572846).

Councillor Mackintosh backed the local campaign stating he would oppose the proposed closure of the polling station when it comes up at full council. He said: “I was horrified when I read this. I will be opposing this at full council and would hope the other two councillors for Kirriemuir and Dean would consider this sympathetically as well.”

He said motorised wheelchairs had accessed the Kingoldrum hall in the past, and questioned the safety of the approach road to Northmuir Hall which is accessed off a busy main road.

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “The Returning Officer is currently consulting on changes to the current polling arrangements in Angus including the relocation of some polling places and the re-designation of several polling district boundaries, and welcomes comments from community groups or members of the public as to these proposals. Their comments and views will be considered. Full details of the Returning Officer’s comments and draft proposal documents can be found on the council website at www.angus.gov.uk/elections/review. Any representations or comments on the draft proposals must be received by the deadline of 5pm on September 23. All representations should be addressed to: The Head of Law & Administration ,Corporate Services Department, Law & Administration Division, Angus Council, Angus House, Orchardbank Business Park ,Forfar DD8 1AN or emailed to elections@angus.gov.uk. All representations received will be published on the council’s website www.angus.gov.uk and will be made available for public inspection in public libraries and ACCESS offices.”