‘Ludicrous’ technicality sees Moreton Hall voters move wards

Graham West
Graham West
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Six households on Moreton Hall will not be able to vote for representatives from their estate in next week’s election – because they are, in fact, living in Rougham.

A technicality over a boundary line has forced a house in Primack Road and five properties in Mortimer Road into their neighbouring polling district, leaving some residents feeling robbed of a meaningful vote in the local elections.

Wendy Johnson, one of those affected, said: “What’s the point in me voting? If I vote for councillors in Rougham, they’re not going to do anything for me are they? It’s absolutely pathetic.”

Her daughter, Carrie, just turned 18 and wants to vote for the first time, but, instead of doing so at the polling station located metres from her home, she will have to travel almost three miles.

“Not being able to vote in the area we live in is beyond words really,” said Wendy.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council says the extended boundary line for Bury St Edmunds was ‘drawn’ in anticipation of agreed plans for the expansion of Moreton Hall using a straight line between the railway and the A14 as there were no easily recognisable features at the time.

Its review of polling district boundaries last year found the actual development had differed slightly from that drawing and six houses were listed incorrectly on the electoral register, so it corrected the ‘error’.

Graham West and his wife, Jenny, are annoyed at the council’s ‘cavalier attitude’ to the ‘ludicrous’ situation.

“They should have sent a letter last year when they noticed, because that would have given us time to appeal, not two weeks before we’re due to vote, and we do always vote,” said Jenny.

She added: “It’s pretty pointless us voting in local politicians and that peeves me because, as a woman, that’s especially important because it [getting the vote] cost a lot of women a lot, and I’ve always voted in both elections.

“They’ve deprived us of our right to vote in other words, even though they’ve given us a ballot paper.”

Graham, who serves on the Moreton Hall Residents’ Association, said common sense should have prevented them from being ‘physically divorced’ from where they actually live.

He said: “I don’t think it’s right for us to vote for people we don’t know. If we were to cast votes, it would be like eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

“Physically we’re part of Moreton Hall. Emotionally, economically, we’re part of Moreton Hall. We’ve no knowledge whatsoever of what goes on in Rougham.”

The council said all the residents affected would be consulted on how they wished to be represented in the future as part of a boundary review being carried out later this year.