New polling places will be less disruptive and more accessible


Monday, 27 February, 2023

Three community venues have been approved by Full Council as new polling places within the Wards of St John’s, Heathlands, and Canalside, ahead of the forthcoming local election on Thursday 4 May 2023. 
The three new polling places are:

  • Sutton Avenue Common Room on Sutton Avenue will be the new polling place for St John’s West polling district (K1) in the St John’s Ward, replacing The Oaktree School.
  • The Lighthouse Barnsbury on Ash Road will be the new polling  place for Barnsbury polling district (D5) in the Heathlands Ward, replacing Barnsbury Primary School and Nursery. 
  • The Welcome Church on Goldsworth Road will be the new polling place for the Town Centre polling district (B1) and Town Centre North polling district (B2) in the Canalside Ward, replacing The Lightbox.

Woking Borough Council is responsible for managing and delivering elections – local, county and national. As part of these responsibilities it must provide suitable polling places which offer reasonable facilities for voting and are accessible to electors who are disabled. 
Following the Elections Act 2022 proposal to implement measures to improve accessibility at elections, a review was undertaken by Woking Borough Council’s Returning Officer to the evaluate the suitability of three polling places currently used within the borough.

The review identified concerns from headteachers and parents regarding the use of school premises as polling places. All polling places must be accessible to the general public which puts extra pressure on schools to provide additional staffing resources to safeguard pupils. In addition, the access requirements also cause general disruption to the school day for teachers, parents and pupils. 
Speaking about the newly designated polling places, Julie Fisher, Returning Officer at Woking Borough Council, said: “The borough has 45 polling stations located in 29 polling places covering 10 wards. Finding suitable and available venues for polling places always presents us with a big challenge. I’m pleased that we’ve found alternative suitable venues for these polling districts. These changes will ensure less disruption and better accessibility for all voters.”

In the lead up to all elections, voters are informed of their polling district and station via a poll card which is posted to all registered voters. The card confirms the elector’s current method of voting, the relevant deadlines to make any changes and shows their allocated polling station address, along with a map of the area. 
Julie Fisher, added: “All registered electors will receive a poll card by the end of March. This year, poll cards will be A4 size and posted to you in an envelope. The poll card size has been increased so that we can list the acceptable forms of photo ID that residents will need to show when voting in person at their allocated polling station.”

Find your polling station

Visit our dedicated webpage for more information about the local election and the new national photo ID rules