Polling District Review 2019

Background to the review

We carried out a polling district review for the entire South Lakeland area between September 2019 and December 2019.

We have a legal duty to ensure that (as far as is reasonable and practical) electors have reasonable facilities for voting, and that our polling places and polling stations are accessible to electors who are disabled. Regular polling district reviews help us know if we’re fulfilling our duties.

The South Lakeland area covers all of the parliamentary constituency of Westmorland & Lonsdale, and part of the constituency of Barrow & Furness. We were required to invite the (Acting) Returning Officer ((A)RO) from each constituency to make comments, initial proposals and final recommendations about polling districts, polling places and polling stations in their area.

We contacted individuals such as Members of Parliament, agents from local political parties, and the people who manage the buildings we use for polling stations. We also invited feedback from individuals or groups with experience or expertise in access issues to polling places or polling stations, particularly for people with disabilities.

There were six stages to the review.

Stages of the review
Stage Action Date
Start of the review The notice of review was published and sent to stakeholders 13 September 2019
Start of the consultation period We published the current polling arrangements, along with details on how to make a representation 16 September 2019
Consultation period The (A)RO published their draft proposals (if any) 11 October 2019
End of consultation period The (A)RO considered all comments and represntations, and made their final recommendations 1 November 2019
Council decision The (A)RO's final recommendations were considered by full council at their meeting on 17 December 2019 17 December 2019
End of the review Correspondence, comments, representations, meeting minutes and any other required documents required were published Throughout December 2019 and January 2020

Comments, submissions and final recommendations

We received a number of comments and submissions, and in some cases the (A)RO made final recommendations to change polling arrangements in several areas. All of the (A)RO’s recommendations were approved by full Council at their meeting on 17 December.

We have organised this information by district ward, to make it easier to find. If a district ward is missing, this is because we received no comments or submissions and the (A)RO made no final recommendations.

We can send electronic copies of the letters and emails we sent to stakeholders, along with all of the comments and representations we received. You can also view paper copies at the following locations, you must make an appointment to do this, our contact details are listed below.

  • South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal, LA9 4DQ
  • Our customer service desk at Ulverston Coronation Hall, County Square, Ulverston, LA12 7LZ

Ambleside & Grasmere

We made an initial proposal to move the designated polling station for the Lakes Grasmere polling district from Grasmere Sports Pavilion to Grasmere Village Hall. We wrote to households in the affected area to invite them to make a comment on this proposal. We made this proposal because Grasmere Village Hall is centrally located, closer to most of the electorate who would vote there and is already a well-known focal point in the polling district. The Village Hall is also more accessible then the Sports Pavilion to people with disabilities. At the Pavilion, wheelchair users have to access the polling station via a temporary entrance through an outbuilding.

We received eighteen comments in support of the proposal. Respondents gave the central location, better accessibility and free car parking given as reasons to move the polling station to the Village Hall. We received three objections to the proposal. Two cited possible clashes with the regular planned events at Grasmere Village Hall and one objection focused on wheelchair access to the Village Hall.

The (A)RO made a final recommendation to move the designated polling station for the Lakes Grasmere polling district from Grasmere Sports Pavilion to Grasmere Village Hall. This change was approved by the full council at their meeting on 17 December 2019.

Bowness & Levens

We received one comment in support of the continued use of Cartmel Fell Village Hall as the designated polling station for the Cartmel Fell polling district. We received two comments in support of the continued use of The Athenaeum in Leasgill as the designated polling station for the Heversham polling district.

The (A)RO made no final recommendations.

Broughton & Coniston

We received one comment, which proposed the opening of a new polling station to cater for residents in the north of the Kirkby Ireleth parish area.

The (A)RO took the comment into count, but made no final recommendations.

Burton & Crooklands

We received one comment in support of the continued use of Burton Memorial Hall as the designated polling station for the Burton polling district.

The (A)RO made no final recommendations.

Cartmel

We received one comment which proposed the closure of the Field Broughton Parish Room as the designated polling station for the Broughton East polling district, and that the Broughton East polling district should be amalgamated with a neighbouring polling district. The respondent also proposed amalgamating the parish of Broughton East with a neighbouring parish.

We received one comment in support of the continued use of Flookburgh Village Hall as the designated polling station for the Lower Holker polling district.

The (A)RO took the comments about the polling station and polling district into account when they made their final recommendations. However, the (A)RO did not consider the proposal regarding Broughton East Parish Council because the arrangements for parish councils are outside the scope of a polling district review. We looked at parish arrangements in 2018 and 2019, when we ran a Community Governance Review.

The (A)RO made no final recommendations.

Furness Peninsula

We received one comment highlighting an issue they found with the distance to the polling station at Greenodd and Pennybridge Village Hall (the designated polling station for the Egton-with-Newland polling districts). The respondent requested a move to a closer location.

The (A)RO considered this comment, but made no final recommendations.

A general note about the polling arrangements in the Kendal district wards

We feel there is scope to simplify the polling districts and polling stations in Kendal, to align them with the new Kendal Town Council parish wards. We did not propose to make further changes in this review, as they may cause changes to polling stations or require us to create new ones and we wished to allow more time to assess the impact of the potential changes. However, we welcomed comments on the suitability of our polling stations in Kendal and we may take them forward to another polling district review at a later date.

Kendal East

The wards of Kendal Town Council were reorganised in 2018 as a result of the South Lakeland Further Electoral Review. As a result, the Kendal Castle polling district (code BJ) was in the Kendal Town Council ward of Kendal Nether. For the same reason, the Kendal Nether ward (code BQ) was in the Kendal Town Council ward of Kendal Castle.

The (A)RO proposed to change the names of the Kendal Castle and Kendal Nether polling districts to align with their new Kendal Town Council parish wards. We received one comment, in support of these proposals.

The (A)RO made final recommendations to rename the Kendal Castle polling district Kendal Nether (keeping the code BJ) and to rename the Kendal Nether polling district Kendal Castle (keeping the code BQ). These final recommendations were approved by full council at their meeting on 17 December 2019.

Kendal North

We received one comment that proposed moving the polling station for the Kendal Strickland polling district from the Methodist Church on Union Street (Kendal) to the Hallgarth Community Centre. This would mean that the two polling districts within the Kendal North district ward (Kendal Strickland and Kendal Underley) would share the same polling station at Hallgarth Community Centre.

We received one comment from the Methodist Church on Union street supporting the continued use of the Church Room as the designated polling station for the Kendal Strickland polling district.

The (A)RO made no final recommendations. However, the comments above will be taken into consideration in any future review of the polling arrangements in Kendal.

Kendal Rural

In 2018 and 2019 we ran a Community Governance Review. One of the changes made by the review was to combine the parishes of Selside & Whitwell and Fawcett Forrest into a single parish called Selside & Whitwell Forrest. Each parish should lie within a separate polling district, so the (A)RO made an initial proposal to merge the Selside polling districts (codes DBA and DBD) that cover the new parish of Selside & Fawcett Forrest into one polling district called ‘Selside’ (with a new code of DB). We received one comment in support of the proposal.

We also received comments in support of the continued use of the designated polling stations at Grayrigg Coronation Hall (for the Grayrigg polling district), Skelsmergh Community Hall (for the Skelsmergh polling district) and The Old School in Longsleddale (for the Longsleddale polling district).

The (A)RO made a final recommendation to merge the polling districts DBA and DBD into one polling district, called Selside, with the code DB. This change was approved by full Council at their meeting on 17 December 2019.

Kendal South & Natland

We received one comment in support of the continued use of the Lake District National Park as the designated polling station for the Kendal Oxenholme polling district. We also received a comment providing the figures from a survey of residents in Oxenholme regarding polling station options. Almost two thirds of respondents expressed a preference for Natland and Oxenholme Village Hall rather than the Lake District National Park Authority at Murley Moss.

The (A)RO did not make any final recommendations, but the comments may be taken into account during any future review of the polling arrangements in Kendal.

Kendal Town

We received one comment on issues with current accessibility to Stricklandgate House, which is the polling station for the Kendal Fell polling district.

The (A)RO did not make any final recommendations, but the comment may be taken into account during any future review of the polling arrangements in Kendal.

Sedbergh & Kirkby Lonsdale

We received one comment in support of the continued use of Mansergh Community Hall as the designated polling station for the Mansergh polling district. We also received one comment raising concerns with the use of The Sedgwick Room in Dent as the designated polling station for the Dent polling district and an offer of an alternative venue.

The (A)RO made no final recommendations.