THREE community venues have been approved as new polling places ahead of the forthcoming borough elections in May, replacing two local schools.

Voters within the St John’s, Heathlands and Canalside wards will see a change of venue, following approval at last week’s full council meeting.

The new venues are:

Sutton Avenue Common Room on Sutton Avenue – the new polling place for St John’s West polling district (K1) in the St John’s Ward, replacing The Oaktree School.

The Lighthouse Barnsbury on Ash Road – the new polling place for Barnsbury polling district (D5) in the Heathlands Ward, replacing Barnsbury Primary School and Nursery.

The Welcome Church on Goldsworth Road – the new polling place for the Town Centre polling district (B1) and Town Centre North polling district (B2) in the Canalside Ward, replacing The Lightbox.

Woking Borough Council is responsible for managing and delivering elections, whether for borough, county or national seats. As part of these responsibilities, it must provide suitable polling places which offer reasonable facilities for voting and are accessible to electors who are disabled. 

 “The borough has 45 polling stations located in 29 polling places covering 10 wards. Finding suitable and available venues for polling places always presents us with a big challenge,” said Julie Fisher, returning officer at Woking Borough Council.

 “I’m pleased that we’ve found alternative suitable venues for these polling districts. These changes will ensure less disruption and better accessibility for all voters.”

A review evaluating the suitability of voting arrangements within the borough identified concerns from headteachers and parents regarding the use of school premises as polling places.

All polling places must be accessible to the general public, which causes extra pressure on schools to provide additional staffing resources to safeguard pupils. In addition, the access requirements also cause general disruption to the school day for teachers, parents and pupils.

In the lead up to all elections, voters are informed of their polling district and station via a poll card which is posted to all registered voters. The card confirms the elector’s current method of voting, the relevant deadlines to make any changes and shows their allocated polling station address, along with a map of the area. 

Julie Fisher added: “All registered electors will receive a poll card by the end of March. This year, poll cards will be A4 size and posted in an envelope. The poll card size has been increased so that we can list the acceptable forms of photo ID that residents will need to show when voting in person at their allocated polling station.”

For more information about the local elections on Thursday 4 May and the new national photo ID rules, visit