Snap election forces Merton to close more schools for polling

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy reporter

Seven Merton schools are due to be used as polling stations on July 4 – triggering closures for the day.

The council has said that the “very limited time” available following the announcement of the election meant that alternative polling station options could not be found.

The council, which only recently had to organise polling stations for the London Mayoral elections in May, has had to confirm its polling station list with very short notice.

Council officers said: “The most recent review of polling districts and polling places took place in autumn 2023 and we always attempt, where possible, to find alternative venues to schools.

“In the case of a snap parliamentary election, there is only a very limited amount of time in which to book polling station venues and to attempt to find alternative venues to those schools that are used for polling.”

Of the seven schools affected, four will close for the entire day. The remaining three will only be closing their early years provision, with the rest of the school staying open.

The four schools due to close on July 4 are Beecholme Primary School, Mitcham; Bond Primary School, Mitcham; Stanford Primary School, Norbury; and Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, New Malden.

The three schools which will only be closing early years provision are: Malmesbury Primary School, Morden; Gorringe Park Primary School, Mitcham and Wimbledon Park Primary School, Wimbledon.

Merton has two parliamentary constituencies in Mitcham & Morden and Wimbledon. The former is once again being contested by Labour’s Dame Siobhain McDonagh, who has held the seat since 1997.

Conversely, the Conservative MP Stephen Hammond is stepping down from his Wimbledon seat, which he has held since 2005. This opens the seat up to a potential three-horse race between Labour, the Lib Dems and Tories.

In addition to the general election, some Merton residents will also be able to vote in two by-elections in the Figges Marsh and St Helier wards. These by-elections were triggered following the resignations of Labour’s Natasha Irons and Helena Dollimore at the end of May.

Those who are voting in person can only vote at the polling station location listed on your polling card, which is sent to registered voters ahead of election day.

Polling stations are open from 7am-10pm and you may be asked to show photo ID before voting, as per new laws passed earlier this year.

The full list of polling stations for the Mitcham & Morden ward can be found here. The full list of polling stations for the Wimbledon ward can be found here.

Pictured top: Wimbledon Park School – one of the July 4 polling stations (Picture: Google Street View)

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