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1. Background

Local authorities are required to review their polling districts and polling places every five years under section 18C of the Representation of the People Act 1983. Each authority may choose the exact dates and length of their review; however, it must fall within a specified window. The review was completed in February 2020.

At the meeting of Full Council on 26 February 2020 it was agreed to undertake a further review of polling districts and polling places in Franche & Habberley North and Blakebrook & Habberley South.

2. Timetable

The review for Wyre Forest District Council starts on 30 September 2020. The consultation period will run until 5pm on 6 November 2020. The final Report will be considered at the full Council meeting on the proposed date of 9 December 2020 and if agreed will come into effect from 4 January 2021.

3. Statutory Notice

The Statutory Notice can be viewed on our Habberley polling place review statutory notice page.

4. Definition of terms

The definitions of the terms for the items being reviewed are:

  • A 'polling district' is a geographical subdivision of an electoral area such as a district ward within which a polling place is designate.
  • A 'polling place' is defined as the building or area in which a polling station resides.
  • A 'polling station' is the room or area within a polling place where voting takes place. Unlike polling districts and polling places which are fixed by the local authority, polling stations are chosen by the (Acting) Returning Officer.

5. The Review

The review requires the council to:

  • Seek to ensure that all the electors in the wards of Blakebrook & Habberley South and Franche & Habberley North wards have such reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable in the circumstances.
  • Seek to ensure that so far as is reasonable and practicable, the polling places they are responsible for are accessible to all electors, and when considering the designation of a polling place, must have regard to the accessibility needs of disabled persons.
  • Seek to ensure that polling places are within their polling district unless special circumstances make it desirable to designate an area outside the polling district.

The (Acting) Returning Officer is required to decide how many polling stations are needed for each polling place and to allocate electors to the polling stations in such a manner he thinks most convenient.

The following is not considered as part of the review:

  • The changing of any district ward boundaries (which can only be done by statute following an electoral review carried out by the Local Government Boundary Commission). This review is concerned only with the administrative subdivision of a ward into polling districts which are then assigned polling places;

or

  • The changing of polling districts in areas which are also aligned with parish boundaries and therefore cannot be amended during this review (these can only be amended during a Community Governance Review).

The Council is keen to receive representations from any interested individual, group or organisation, particularly those with expertise in access for persons with any type of disability, on alterations to current electoral arrangements. Representations should, wherever possible, include suggested alternative premises which may be used for polling purposes. Any elector within the authority or within the Wyre Forest parliamentary constituency may make a representation.

6. Current arrangements

Table A shows the current arrangements for which polling district votes and which polling station and Table B the minimum and maximum distances electors travel.
Division Ward Polling District Electorate Properties Polling Station
St. Mary's Blakebrook & Habberley South BHS-4 321 433 Gainsborough House Hotel
St. John's Blakebrook & Habberley South BHS-5 2929 1818 Gainsborough House Hotel
St. Barnabas Franche & Habberley North FHN-3 4567 2548 Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club

 

Table B lays out the distance travelled by electors to their Polling stations.
Polling District Minimum metres travelled
(as the crow flies)
Maximum metres travelled
(as the crow flies)
Polling Station
BHS-4 1093 1573 Gainsborough House Hotel
BHS-5 40 1138 Gainsborough House Hotel
FHN-3 34 1577 Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club

 

7. Wyre Forest District Council's proposals

Wyre Forest District Council is proposing to alter the polling location for the polling districts BHS-4, BHS-5 and part of FHN-3.

Electors for the polling Districts BHS-4 and BHS-5 currently vote at the Gainsborough House Hotel and FHN-3 currently vote at Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club.

Under the proposal, the polling district FHN-3 would be split into two polling districts, retaining a smaller FHN-3 and creating a new FHN-4. The table below shows the proposed polling district split by street. FHN-3 would remain voting at Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club whilst the new FHN-4 would vote at the Habberley Social Club.

Polling district BHS-4 would move to vote at Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club whilst BHS-5 would join FHN-4 and vote at Habberley Social Club.

Proposed polling district split by street for FHN-3

The following streets will remain FHN-3 and continue to vote at Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club.

  • Aintree Close
  • Aldermere Road
  • Aster Avenue
  • Avill Grove
  • Beaulieu Close
  • Beechfield Drive
  • Brabham Close
  • Bradley Thursfield Court
  • Brooklands Drive
  • Broomfield Close
  • Broomfield road
  • Delphinum Close
  • Erica Close
  • Franche Road
  • Gardeners Close
  • Goodwin Close
  • Grange Road
  • Habberley Road (numbers 32 - 48)
  • Hawkstone Close
  • Hay Close
  • Lakes Close
  • Lobelia Close
  • Mallory Drive
  • Marlpool Court
  • Marlpool Lane
  • Marlpool Place
  • Mill Street
  • Newlands Close
  • Northcliffe Heights
  • Oulton Close
  • Pendine Close
  • Puxton Drive
  • Puxton Lane
  • Sandcliffe Close
  • Silverstone Avenue
  • Spindle Close
  • Whitville Close
  • Willowfield Drive
  • Woodland Avenue

The following streets will become part of FHN-4 and will vote at Habberley Social Club.

  • Abbey Road
  • Beverley Close
  • Briars Close
  • Canterbury Road
  • Cathedral Avenue
  • Cheshire Grove
  • Domar Road
  • Drake Crescent
  • Ely Close
  • Exeter Close
  • Glastonbury Close
  • Habberley Road (numbers 52 - 119)
  • Hawthorn Grove
  • Hillside Drive
  • Holmwood Avenue
  • Lichfield Avenue
  • Lincoln Crescent
  • Manor Avenue
  • Manor Avenue South
  • Manor Close
  • Norwich Avenue
  • Salisbury Drive
  • Spinney Close
  • St. Alban's Avenue
  • St. David's Close
  • St. John's Avenue
  • St. Paul's Avenue
  • Trimpley Drive
  • Wells Close
  • Winchester Avenue
Table C shows the proposed set up by electorate.
Division Ward Polling District Electorate Properties Polling Station
St. Mary's Blakebrook & Habberley South BHS-4 321 433 Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club
St. John's Blakebrook & Habberley South BHS-5 2929 1818 Habberley Social Club
St. Barnabas Franche & Habberley North FHN-3 4567 2548 Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club
St. Barnabas Franche & Habberley North FHN-4 1764 1542 Habberley Social Club

 

Table D sets out the distance travelled by electors under the new proposals.
Polling District Minimum metres travelled
(as the crow files)
Maximum metres travelled
(as the crow flies)
Polling Station
BHS-4 1127 1886 Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club
BHS-5 72 1633 Habberley Social Club
FHN-3 34 1029 Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club
FHN-4 271 1214 Habberley Social Club

The current arrangements are considered to have worked successfully in several recent elections and electoral processes but the Review conducted in 2019 showed that some of the electorate wanted to see changes to the polling places serving the Habberley estate.

There has been no discernible impact on participation as a result of the major changes agreed in 2014.

Information about the turnout can be seen in this report to Council from 2015 which in particular reviewed participation levels since the changes agreed in 2014. View the most recent report, on elections day in May 2019, or the report to Council in December 2019.

The proposals will mean some electors have slightly further to travel to their polling place while the distance will reduce for others.

Electors transferring from Gainsborough House Hotel to Kidderminster Carolians Rugby Football Club would still be able to use public transport if required in the local bus service 297 provided by Arriva Buses from Kidderminster Bus Station. Alternatively, the option to appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf or receive a postal vote is available.

8. Polling Districts, Places and Stations informtion

Information on the current Polling Districts, Places and Stations including their electorate can be found on our 'Where to Vote' web page.

View map of the existing Polling Districts and Polling Places.

9. How to respond

You can respond via the short online questionnaire on the Survey Monkey website.

Alternatively you can respond in writing by email or to the Electoral Registration Officer, Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster DY11 7WF.

Please note that as part of the review, all submissions, relevant correspondence and (Acting) Returning Officer comments will be made available for public inspection and be published in the final report and considered at full council on 9 December 2020. Personal data (such as your full address or email address) would not be published in the report to council and would be redacted (withheld).

10. Outcome

Any changes approved by Council on 9 December 2020 will be incorporated into the electoral register in 4 January 2021 and will take effect at any election after that date.

We will only contact you regarding this feedback.
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