Polling booth 10 feet from my house is '˜dangerous' claims Northampton mum

A mum-of-two who complained when a large polling booth dropped on her doorstep in Northampton last month was dismayed to find it will be there again all next week.

Saturday, 18th June 2016, 6:30 am
A mobile polling station plonked 10 feet from Tracey Richards' home is dangerous, she claims, and infringes on her privacy.

Tracey Richards, of Ironstone Lane, Briar Hill, woke up one morning in May to find the offending portable unit outside her house.

The 47-year-old year old said she had never been told the station - complete with a mobile toilet - would be appearing 10 feet from her property.

She said it was unsafe on the grass bank by her property, limited parking in the area, casted a bright light into her home until late and infringed on her family’s privacy. She has two young children aged nine and seven.

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Northampton Borough Council came out to move the booth down the road that week.

But with next week’s EU referendum looming, she has been told the booth will go in exactly the same spot because attempts to move it 170 yards away met with opposition.

A letter to her on May 26 stated: “This new location was inconvenient for the relevant electorate, evidenced by the complaints we received.”

However Mrs Richards is angry at the decision.

She said: “They have given me no choice as to where this polling station will be.

“It will be located very close to my home in fact about 10 feet from my front door.

“As you can imagine I don’t think anyone would be happy for this to be parked on their doorstep.”

Mrs Richards its calling on the council to consider moving the booth either down the road again or altogether, as another polling booth will sit 1.5 miles away in Briar Hill Road.

“There will be people queuing until late and they will be able to look right into my window,” she said. “I’m just worried this is going to come back here every time there is an election.

David Kennedy, counting officer for Northampton, said: “During the PCC election, at the request of Mrs Richards, the mobile polling station was moved slightly. However, we reviewed this after the PCC election and the decision has been made that the polling station does need to remain in the original allocated spot in order to ensure the best possible access for voters.

“Unfortunately our ability to place the unit elsewhere is limited by topography and safety issues, although we will be marginally adjusting the exact location of the mobile unit to seek to address some of Mrs Richards’ initial concerns.”

Mr Kennedy added that he was grateful to Mrs Richards and her neighbours for their tolerance during the EU referendum.