The controversial new polling station at Cosmeston Country Park's Ranger's Office is to be used again in this year's May 5th elections

The most dangerous polling station in Penarth? The controversial new polling station at Cosmeston Country Park’s Ranger’s Office is to be used again in this year’s May 5th elections

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is set to retain the unpopular and much-criticised polling station at Cosmeston Country Park Ranger’s Office – even though it means that every voter will have to drive there –  or will have to cross the busy Lavernock Road to cast their vote.

In elections up until  last year, Lavernock Ward residents had been  able to use a special Portacabin polling station specially set up on the grass verge at Falcon Road (on the opposite side of the road and adjacent to the local housing estates) . That meant that until  2015 no one had to cross the road to cast their vote – particularly the elderly and disabled. But  they do now.

The Labour-run Vale "cabinet" decided to do away with Falcon Grove portacabin polling station at Lavernock - which is ono the same side of the road as the nerw estate of owner-occupied houses

The Labour-run Vale “cabinet” decided to do away with Falcon Grove portacabin polling station at Lavernock – which was on the same side of the road as the new estate of owner-occupied houses

Last year – in a cost-cutting operation – the Portacabin polling station at Falcon Road was dispensed with. Lavernock Ward voters had no option but to walk or drive to a new and alternative polling station established at Cosmeston Country Park where the voting booth and ballot box had been set up  in the tiny Ranger’s Office.

The polling booths at Co0smeston were within inches of the ballot box

The polling booths at the Cosmeston Ranger’s little office were within inches of the ballot box

The premises were so small it was questioned whether voters had the degree of privacy legally required for participating in what is supposed to be a secret ballot.

After the May 2015 elections, fresh concerns were raised about the change of polling  station for the Lavernock Ward and its relocation to Cosmeston Country Park. A two-stage “consultation” and “review” was then carried out by the Vale’s Electoral Registration Officer which lasted from Monday 11 January 2016 to Friday 29th January 2016.

None of the people who would actually have to cross the road to vote were consulted . The only people consulted – described as “stakeholders” – were local MPs, MEPS, councillors and members of various organisations.

Vale Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) - formerly UKIP

Vale Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully – formerly UKIP)

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth)

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth)

Amongst the consultees who did object to the Cosmeston Polling station were Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Vale Councillor for Sully) and Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth).

Doughty, the report says , noted  “Concerns raised regarding crossing main road which is extremely busy and poor lighting.” The report said the MP “Strongly supports change back to portacabin at Falcon Grove”. Cllr Mahoney meanwhile raised concerns about the size of the Cosmeston premises and the lack of disabled access .

Despite the objections of Cllr Kevin Mahoney and Stephen Doughty, the Vale summed up the “initial” consultation with a proposal to leave the arrangements as they stood [with polling to continue at Cosmeston Ranger’s Office ] .  The council then said that in the “second phase” of the consultation “no further representations were received” . As a result, the status quo will prevail.

The only change for next May will be that a larger office will be provided  than was allocated in May last year . In addition, “building works to improve wheelchair access” are to be carried out prior to the Welsh  Assembly/Police Commissioner elections due on May 5th 2016.

A Vale Council report says “the Electoral Registration Officer is satisfied that the facilities are reasonable and it is accessible to electors that are disabled”.

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  1. Tim Hughes says:

    Better get rid of the bus stop then.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Apalling decision. There is no Pedestrian Controlled Crossing at Cosmeston Park and the Local Development Plan (Transport 2015) does not include provision to improve Road Safety at this point at any time. It is a very serious omission from the LDP and also because the Authority purely to save money further have chosen to fulfil their obligations under the Representation of the People Act at least 100 metres from the nearest human habitation and at a point which may only be accessed via a dangerous road.
      Long term danger will only increase at this vulnerable Road Safety blackspot especially with a determination by the Vale of Glamorgan “To provide a 500 space regional Bus Park & Ride /Park & Share facility at Cosmeston”. May I wish all Cosmeston/Lavernock electors a careful safe Polling Day when exercising their Democratic Rights.

  2. Frank Evans says:

    My I also Mr Rapier well on yet another successful first teply. Well done and we know everything bad about labour is not down to you, at least this was the defence in nuremburg in1946.

  3. snoggerdog says:

    crossing a busy road ? is it that dangerous ? in everyone must have car ,4×4 getting incredibly popular,uk there must be a lot of dangerous journeys being taken on a daily basis !

  4. Phil the Rapper says:

    Yo! never say a bad word ’bout Penarth
    All bad comments ’bout labour are as bad as *arts
    You know what I do is comment about you.
    First to reply, does make my boat fly.
    I used to ride horses, now I’m the main force
    ’cause labour is where its at, just like my old cat.
    I maybe old but I ain’t so sold.
    so come with me on journey to the election
    I will comment on the everything just to get me fellows in
    Labour is where its at, just like a pile of used tat.
    I think i’ve gone off message, just like old baggy burnt ett
    So take off your shoes and just get wet
    come with me on a journey
    cause me face can do a gourney
    is that it

  5. Colin says:

    Isn’t the side of upper cosmeston drive earmarked for a supermarket/transport hub? Road improvements will be made then,,,

Comments are closed.