Upset as elderly people told their Denmead sheltered block’s common room will be used as polling station

ELDERLY people living in sheltered housing have told of their fury after council bosses decided to put a polling station in their common room.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 11:44 am
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 11:47 am
Elderly people living at White Wings House sheltered housing have told of their fury after council bosses decided to put a polling station in their common room. Picture: Hope McKellar

It will be the first time the common room at White Wings House residents in Denmead will be used during district council elections on May 2.

Last year after an election was held in a small room in the All Saints Church hall, with almost 1,000 people and caused long queues – sparking complaints.

But Ted Shepherd has concerns about security, especially for the more vulnerable people living at White Wings House.

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The property is split into two – with elderly residents cared for by Winchester City Council and people with learning disabilities looked after by the You Trust.

The 81-year-old said: ‘There are some people living here with learning difficulties, they’ll open their door to anyone who knocks, anyone could come in and burgle the place.

‘With all the cars parked up one side of the road, it’s single file in and out, how would they fit a fire engine or an ambulance down here if we needed one?’

Fellow residents have also told The News of their concerns about the plan.

One resident, Pauline Smith, is avoiding staying at her home for three days and is instead going to stay with her daughter in Cosham.

She said: ‘My concern is that they will do it this time then they will do it every time. This is our home.’

Deanne Adams, 75, who is also a White Wings resident, said: ‘My concern is the backlog of traffic increasing the risk of an accident.’

They are planning to do a petition on the day of the vote so that they can put a stop to further elections being held at White Wings.

Deanne said: ‘We are not going to stop this one, but we need to stop future ones.’

Other villagers are also not happy about the building being used.

A statement from Winchester City Council said: ‘We have polling stations across the district to enable residents to cast their vote in a number of elections.

‘These include a variety of venues, including community halls, schools and lounges in the council sheltered care schemes.

‘We are occasionally required to review the suitability of our polling stations and this statutory review was started late last year.

‘The licensing and regulatory committee considered a paper in January this year, which proposed moving the polling station from All Saints Church in Denmead to the large community lounge at the White Wings sheltered development.’

‘We are very experienced in holding elections in community lounges and are working with the onsite team to reassure residents and make them aware of all the arrangements.’

The sheltered accommodation is home to 37 residents 60-years-old and above, including some with learning difficulties and physical disabilities.