CHANGES have been made to Isle of Wight polling stations ahead of the General Election — with a number of venues unavailable so close to Christmas.

The Isle of Wight Council said six polling stations would move from their current location — affecting voters in Nettlestone, Seaview, Rookley, Shorwell, Newport and Cowes.

The polling stations at Nettlestone Primary School and St Peter's Undercroft, Seaview, will move to a new, single location at Seagrove Pavilion.

The council said its disabled access facilities were better, and running one instead of two polling stations would save £225.

The move was supported by Nettlestone and Seaview Parish Council, which said the primary school could now remain open.

The polling stations at Rookley and Shorwell Village Halls will move to Rookley and Shorwell Methodist Churches, respectively.

Nine Acres Primary School, Newport, will replace St John's Church Hall, and Northwood Cricket Club will replace the Isle of Wight Community Club, Cowes.

A council spokesperson said the changes were necessary because a number of regular venues were unavailable due to prior bookings so close to Christmas.

"With the very short notice and timescale to deliver the election on this occasion, this adds to the challenge of being able to secure our usual locations," said the spokesperson.

"While we make every effort to secure venues that will afford the least possible disruption, there are some circumstances where we have no other option than to secure an alternative.

"The acting returning officer has no powers to order the use of venues (other than where it relates to a school or council building) for election purposes and any request is undertaken in consultation with the school."

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