Background to the Polling District Review

What the review is about

We have a legal duty to ensure, as far as is reasonable and practical:

  • that electors have reasonable facilities for voting
  • that our polling places (and polling stations) are accessible to electors who are disabled

We understand that our polling districts and polling places will never be completely ideal for every single elector in the area, but a polling district review helps us know if we're meeting these legal requirements.

Although the review will focus on polling places and polling districts, we will also be looking at our polling stations because the three are all connected. It wouldn't be possible for us to review our polling districts and polling places, without also considering our polling stations.

View the Notice of Review

We want hear your views about your polling district, polling place and polling station

The review will include a public consultation. This is a period where local electors and other interested parties (for example, MPs, district council members and local groups/organisations for people with disabilities) can make representations about their polling district, polling place and/or polling station. A representation is a comment, view, opinion, suggestion or proposal.

The public consultation began on Monday 16 September 2019 and will end on 1 November 2019.

Any elector in the South Lakeland area can comment, about any aspect of the review. But we’re really keen to hear from people with experience or expertise on the issues around accessing facilities and premises, for people with different forms of disability. We’d also like to hear from people who have experience or expertise in helping someone to travel to a polling station and/or helping them to vote.

If you feel the current arrangements in your area might be improved, we welcome any suggestions for alternative arrangements.

Why we're carrying out a review now

We're running a review now because the law (the Electoral Registration Act 2013) changed how often we have to carry out these reviews. The review must be started and completed between 1 October 2018 and 31 January 2020. We last carried out a full review in 2014, although we undertook an interim review in 2017 to manage the district ward changes introduced by the South Lakeland Further Electoral Review.


An (Acting) Returning Officer ((A)RO) is the person who acts as the Returning Officer in UK Parliamentary elections (also known as general elections).

A polling district is a geographical subdivision of an electoral area (ie. a UK Parliamentary constituency) for the purposes of elections. Each parish must be have a separate polling district and must not be in a polling district that contains parts of a different parish.  

A polling place is a building or area in which polling stations are to be selected by the (A)RO. Polling places must be chosen to ensure that polling stations are within easy reach of all electors in the polling district. Polling places should be located within the polling district, unless special circumstances apply.  

A polling station is the room or area within a polling place where voting takes place on election days. It must be located within the polling place designated for the particular polling district.  

Who we will invite to make a representation

We must invite the ((A)RO) for each parliamentary constituency in our area to make comments and proposals. The South Lakeland District Council area covers all of the parliamentary constituency of Westmorland & Lonsdale and part of the constituency of Barrow & Furness, so we will invite comments from two (A)ROs during this review.

We will also invite the following individuals and organisations to make a representation:

  • the Members of Parliament for Westmorland & Lonsdale and Barrow & Furness
  • Cumbria County Council Councillors
  • South Lakeland District Council members
  • Parish Clerks
  • political party agents
  • staff who manage the buildings we use for polling stations
  • Lake District National Park Authority
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
  • local organisations with expertise in relation to access to premises or facilities for people with different forms of disability

We will publish the letters and emails we send to these stakeholders at the end of the review, along with any representations they make. 

What you need to do to make representation

  1. Look at what we can and can't consider in the review
  2. Look at the current arrangements in your area
  3. How to give us your comments by submitting your representation

Scope of the review

What we can look at

  • the boundary, name and letters/numbers of the current polling districts
  • creating new polling districts
  • merging or abolishing existing polling districts
  • the polling place for each polling district
  • suitability of the current polling stations used for each polling district, particularly its access for disabled electors
  • possible alternative polling stations
  • any known or future changes, e.g. buildings that have ceased or will cease to be suitable for a polling station, or buildings that have, or due to become, more suitable  

What we can't look at

The boundaries or electoral arrangements for the following:

  • parliamentary constituencies
  • county council electoral divisions
  • district wards. These wards were changed in 2017 as a result of the Further Electoral Review
  • parish councils and parish meetings. We looked at parish arrangements earlier this year in the Community Governance Review

Current arrangements in your area

We've published details of all the current arrangements we have in place, and arranged them by district ward to make them easier to find. These details are:

  • polling district letters (which we use for our reference when running elections and reviews)
  • polling districts
  • polling places
  • polling stations
  • the number of people registered to vote in each polling district
  • the number of people who vote by post (or have a proxy who votes on their behalf by post)
  • the number of people who vote in person at a polling station (or have a proxy who votes on their behalf in person)
  • polling districts, polling places and polling stations we currently have in place. These details include the electorate, number of people who vote by post and number of people who vote in person as on 2 September 2019
  • the (A)RO's comments and proposals, which will be added later in the review

How to find your district ward

Find your district ward

  1. When the map opens you will see the polling district boundaries, as a purple line
  2. In the 'current address' field at the top of the map, enter your property details
  3. The map will zoom in on the property and mark it with a 'target' icon
  4. If you click on the target icon, a box will appear, containing the name of the district ward

View the information for: 

The review Process

The review steps we have to follow are set out in Schedule A1 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended). We will also follow the Electoral Commission's guidance on conducting polling district reviews.

During the review

When carrying out the review we must:  

  • publish a Notice of Review
  • consult with the (A)ROs for the parliamentary constituencies of Westmorland & Lonsdale and Barrow & Furness
  • publish the (A)ROs' comments and proposals. We will publish these on our website and make paper copies available at South Lakeland House (Kendal), Ulverston Town Hall and Windermere Library
  • invite representations from people and organisations with experience or expertise on the issues around accessing facilities and premises, for people with different forms of disability. We will contact disability/access groups and other interested parties

The decision to make any changes to current arrangements will be made by the Council, not the (A)RO. Any final proposals made by the (A)ROs will be considered by the full Council at their meeting on 17 December.

At the end of the review

Once the review is over we must publish:

  • all the correspondence we sent to the (A)ROs in connection with the Review
  • all the correspondence we sent to individuals and organisations with expertise in relation to access to premises or facilities for people with different forms of disability
  • all representations we received from any person in connection with the Review
  • the minutes of any meeting held by the Council to consider proposals to change polling districts or polling places
  • details of the designation of polling districts and polling places in the area as result of the review
  • details of where the results of the review have been published 

Any approved proposals will come into effect when the Register of Electors is published on 1 February 2020. 


Stage  Action Date(s)
Start of the review 
  • Notice of Review published and sent to stakeholders ('who we will invite to make a representation' listed above)
13 September 2019
Start of the consultation period
  • current polling arrangements published, along with details on how to make representations
  • link to the online consultation hub opened
  • we will begin to accept representations by email or post
16 September 2019
Consultation period
  • (Acting) Returning Officer's comments and draft proposals to make changes (if any) published
11 October 2019
End of consultation period
  • link to the online consultation hub closed
  • we will no longer accept representations by email or post
  • the (Acting) Returning Officer to begin considering all representations received to make their final comments and recommendations
1 November 2019
Council decision
  • final recommendations considered by full Council at their meeting
17 December 2019
End of the review
  • correspondence, representations, minutes and other documentation required by legislation (detailed above) published
As soon as practicable after 18 December 2019
Register publication
  • Any final recommendations approved by Council brought into effect by publication of the Register of Electors
1 February 2020


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