Rumpus over ‘pay to park’ at polling station

county council elections

county council elections

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A row has broken out after people turning up to vote in the Bucks County Council elections found they had to pay to park at the Swan Pool and Leisure Centre.

Earlier today, resident Keith Weil complained parking charges on the site meant it would cost him £1 to cast his vote at the polling station in Buckingham Youth Centre.

Mr Weil said: “With the anticipated low turnout for today’s elections, we have been implored to vote as is our right.

“If you live in Buckingham, it will cost you the princely sum of £1 to park your car at Swan Pool or run the risk of being clamped and an even larger expense, all for the sake of voting.

“Could somebody not have had the wit to suspend the charges for voting day or move the place for voting to the community centre where we could park free for the first two hours, or is that too simple?

“How many pensioners have had the same experience and have better things to do with their pension?

“I will not be spending my £1.”

As a result of complaints, at lunchtime the leisure services team at Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) suspended charges at the leisure centre so people could exercise their democratic right to vote.

But since then the Advertiser has been informed that this decision was overturned by AVDC’s electoral services division and the charges have been reinstated.

This means people in Buckingham North ward face a £1 parking charge at the Swan Pool to vote, while people in Buckingham South can currently park free of charge in Cornwall’s Meadow to vote at the Community Centre.

AVDC director Tracey Aldworth said: “An officer looked into the possibility of temporarily suspending parking charges at the Swan Pool car park on polling day but was subsequently advised it would not be possible due to practical reasons.

“It would not be correct practice to lift parking restrictions at one car park and not repeat this action at other car parks across the district.”