Could these be the most isolated polling stations in the North East?

Could these polling stations be the North East’s most isolated?

By Herbert Soden
Friday, 23rd April 2021, 3:05 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 3:18 pm
Holy Island, seen in the distance from Ross Back Sands.
Holy Island, seen in the distance from Ross Back Sands.

Next month, thousands of voters across the region will be casting ballots to elect councillors, mayoral candidates and the police and crime commissioner.

Those living in a tiny island community are no exception.

Also known as Lindisfarne, Holy Island is home to just 180 people, but welcomes some 650,000 visitors each year, despite being cut off by the sea twice a day.

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One of the smaller areas inside Crossman Hall on Holy Island. Picture by Jane Coltman

Thankfully, its residents won’t have to take to the sea to cast their ballot – instead islanders will be able to vote at Crossman Hall.

Crossman Hall first opened its doors in 2016 after the old hall was closed for safety reasons in 2005 and demolished in 2007.

It was named after the Crossman family, owners and of the Island.

Lady Rose Crossman gifted the land for the hall to the trustees and the £1million project received funding from the national lottery.

Perhaps Kielder could lay claim to having the most isolated polling station. In 2002, the village was voted the most remote in the UK.

At the time, the title was bestowed on the beautiful village at the Royal Show, in Warwickshire, where Northumberland was the featured county.

It’s 10 miles from the next nearest village, and surrounded by 155,000-acre Kielder Forest and 44billion-gallon Kielder Water reservoir.

The nearest cinema is more than 38 miles away and the nearest supermarket, a Sainsbury’s, is more than six miles away.

Those wanting to visit Newcastle face a round trip of more than 100 miles.

Thankfully, for democracy, the village’s voters don’t have to travel as far and can cast their ballots at Kielder Community First School.

Elections for Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) both take place on Thursday, May 6.

There are a number of ways that people can vote. In person at the polling station, by postal vote or by proxy – where someone votes on your behalf. While the deadline to apply for a postal vote has now passed, residents have until April 27 to apply for a proxy vote. For more, email: [email protected]

A new emergency proxy vote will be available until 5pm on polling day, so anyone who is self-isolating or suffering from coronavirus can request a vote at the last minute.