Sunday, January 26, 2020
The skye times mobile

Waternish Community Hall Committee have become the latest on Skye to hit out at new election polling station plans from Highland Council.

Following on from complaints made by Braes, the Waternish group have also voiced their serious concerns about the scheme to switch polling stations from their traditional Village Hall sites to local schools.

Highland Council claim the move would save cash but local people believe it could result in many, particularly those without transport, missing out on their right to vote.

Urging anyone else with similar views to email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Waternish Community Hall (SCIO) Committee member, Judith Hodgkin said: “ I have only just heard about this proposal and find that your consultation timetable happened over Christmas and New Year when our local committee was busy organising local events.  Clearly we have missed the deadline to respond and I wish to express my concern about this.

“Now that I have read the responses you did receive (all apparently from the mainland?) I wish to add my comments to those already made.

1. Our Village Hall is in a central location passed by anyone coming onto or off the Waternish peninsular for shopping/ GP/ dentist/ appointments etc.  The Village School however is around three miles away and accessible to most people only by personal transport.
2. We have an ageing population many of whom do not own their own transport.  What arrangement would be made to assist such individuals to reach the Polling Station at their convenience?
3. Our Village Hall has disabled and other parking right next to the Hall whereas to reach the school from the parking place requires you to cross the road.
4. Our Village Hall survives against the odds in a tiny community and the income we receive from the hire of the Hall for elections contributes hugely towards the running costs.  We have limited opportunities to raise funds and the loss of this income will impact considerably on our ability to continue to run the Hall.
“I realise that these sorts of comments have been made already by other consultees but would add the following:
Waternish School was threatened with closure a couple of years ago and the possibility of this happening in the not too distant future hangs over our community still.  I would like to ask you where you envisage holding future elections when this occurs.
“Please try not to use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut – our remote community already receives very little benefit from the use of council tax for local services – we have no street lights, our nearest police station is a 45 minute drive away in Portree and our roads are in an absolutely appalling state.  I feel that this proposed change will affect us disproportionately.”



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