Closed footpath in Haverhill could restrict access to polling station

No Caption ABCDE ANL-150424-141601001
No Caption ABCDE ANL-150424-141601001

Residents may be denied their right to vote because of the closure of a path leading to a polling centre.

Town councillor Ernie Goody has expressed his concern that work to renovate Strasbourg Square has led to footpaths into the area being completely blocked off by contractors.

Given that the Chalkstone Community Centre, which is due to be used as a polling station in next week’s elections, also has access restricted, Cllr Goody fears that people in wheelchairs or mobility scooters may not be able to access the site on polling day.

“All people should have the right to vote,” said Cllr Goody. “They should all be able to get to the polling station.”

People trying to access the site from the town centre currently have to walk through a tunnel and along a road with no footpath to get to the community centre.

He added: “There aren’t even any signs telling people the road is blocked. If they can’t cross the road, they won’t be able to vote.

“This could be a very close election. People not casting their vote could have a big effect.”

The closure of the footpaths has also hit trade in the shops in the area.

“It’s a disaster,” said Amrik Singh Rai, owner of the local Londis. “It’s putting off customers. We can’t close the shop. They [the council] should help us because we are losing a lot of trade.

“They only work about two hours a day. Who knows when they will be finished.”

Cllr Tony Brown said : “We have to make sure that disabled people have access to the shops and that people are fully aware that the shops and the community centre are still open.

“Those shops depend on trade to keep going.

“We know the community centre is a polling station and the borough council knows people need access.

“We will be on the case.”