ePetition details

Stop Using Chiltern Wood School As A Polling Station

We the undersigned petition the council to Stop Using Chiltern Wood School AS A Polling Station. This is a school for children with severe complex additional needs and who struggle hugely with change of structure and routine.

I urge the Council to take note about the serious impact it has on these children considering the severity of their needs.
It may be just one day to so many people but for children like ours who need that structure and routine in their lives it can have a serious impact on their health and wellbeing.
There are so many other places in Cressex to hold a polling station (community centres, sports centres, judo centres)

This ePetition ran from 15/04/2019 to 27/05/2019 and has now finished.

50 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

Dear Madam

With reference to the email below that you received from my colleague, I write to respond to the petition.

I am sure you will recall that myself and the Council’s Elections Manager, Matt Rae, have previously been in contact with you in relation to the subject matter of your petition, so I apologise if some of my comments below repeat what has been shared with you previously.

Firstly, the Council understands the reasons for your petition, and the impact of a polling station for an election being within a school. We are of course particularly mindful of Chiltern Wood School and I know from our previous communication that you are concerned at the impact that closing the school for it to be used as a polling station has on the children and parents, with the need for structure and routine being of paramount importance.

The Council’s Elections Manager did seek to work closely with the school in relation to the recent European Parliamentary Elections, and was hopeful of identifying a suitable room for use within the school, which would not necessitate the closure of the school for polling day. Unfortunately, I understand that the school could not identify a room which could have ensured this. Of course, the added difficulty in relation to last month’s European Parliamentary Elections was the lack of notice from the Government to have to run these elections. These were elections that nobody was expecting having to administer. In fact, the statutory timetable for the elections was started, but without any certainty or clarity from the Government that polling day would even take place.

In terms of moving forward and future elections, the associated law surrounding the administration of elections does however permit the Returning Officer to use a room within a school for the purposes of a polling station. The legislation also provides that the Council periodically undertakes a statutory review of all its polling districts and polling places, and the last one was held in the autumn of 2018. At that time, the Council agreed not to make any change in relation to the use of the school as a polling station.

In summary, the Council is happy to consider undertaking a further review of the use of the school as a polling station, but should a decision be taken to stop using the school, this would be subject to a suitable alternative location being identified for that electoral area. I am aware that you have suggested some alternative locations and these can be investigated and considered, alongside the use of the school, as part of the review, to ascertain their suitability for use as a polling station. Any decision to make a change in the location of the polling station will be for the Returning Officer in conjunction with the Council.

Many thanks
Ian

Ian Hunt
Democratic Services Manager
Wycombe District Council
Queen Victoria Road
High Wycombe
HP11 1BB