Everything you need to know about the referendum on the future of East Boldon

Residents of East Boldon and parts of Cleadon and Boldon Colliery are set to go to the polls next week to vote on a neighbourhood plan for their area.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 10:58 am
Voters are going to the polls on October 28.

A referendum on the East Boldon Neighbourhood Plan is set to take place on Thursday, October 28.

The referendum is run in the same way as a local election however, residents will be asked whether they want South Tyneside Council to use the neigbourhood plan for East Boldon to help decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area.

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The referendum will help shape the future of the area.

Residents can vote in person at the polling station at Scout Hut, behind the Grey Horse pub in Front Street, East Boldon, which will be open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday October 28.

Residents with a postal vote are urged to complete and return their postal ballots as soon as possible.

Those who have not had time to post it before polling day, can still hand it in at the polling station on Thursday October 28. Postal votes that arrive after 10pm will not be counted.

People voting in person are encouraged to help keep themselves and others safe by wearing a face covering (unless exempt), bringing their own pen or pencil and cleaning their hands while entering and leaving the polling station.

Voters should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or if they have been asked to self-isolate.

Anyone who develops symptoms or is asked to self-isolate shortly before polling day has up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote – which allows them to nominate someone they trust to vote on their behalf.

Jonathan Tew, counting officer at the referendum, said: “Those living in the East Boldon neighbourhood area will be heading to the polling station on Thursday October 28.

“The referendum is an opportunity for them to make their voices heard on how local planning matters will be determined in the future.

“It is important that those residents in the neighbourhood area check the information on their polling cards or postal votes.

“We would encourage people to consider the information and guidance available about the voting process beforehand, so they know what to do on the day.”

Around 3,400 people are entitled to vote in the referendum on the East Boldon Neighbourhood Plan, with around 1,400 of those residents registered to vote by post.

If more people vote ‘yes’ than ‘no’ in the referendum, then South Tyneside Council will use the neighbourhood plan to help decide planning applications in the East Boldon Neighbourhood Forum area.

If more people vote ‘no’, then planning applications will continue to be decided using the policies in the various documents that comprise South Tyneside’s development plan.

For more information about the referendum visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk , contact the elections office on (0191) 424 7230, or email [email protected]

Information on the neighbourhood plan itself can also be found on East Boldon Neighbourhood Forum’s website here: www.eastboldonforum.org.uk/2021/08/29/referendum-information

What voters need to know before the referendum:

:: Staying COVID safe:

– People are encouraged to wear a face mask while in the polling station, unless exempt, to use the hand sanitiser provided, to keep a sensible distance from others and to follow any guidance on display and any directions issued by the polling station staff.

– Voters are also advised to take a pen or pencil but can also use one of the clean pencils available at the station.

:: Voting in time:

– The polling station will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday October 28. (Voters had to have applied to register to vote by October 12 in order to be able to vote on the day)

– Polling cards have been sent to the addresses of registered voters in the neighbourhood area. The cards give details of the location of the polling station.

:: Postal voting:

– Postal votes must be returned by 10pm on Thursday, October 28. (Voters had to have applied to vote by post by October 13 in order to be able to vote on the day)

– Voters should have received their postal vote by October 22.

– Those who have not had time to post it before the referendum, can hand it in at the polling station up to a final deadline of 10pm.

:: Proxy voting:

– If you have appointed a proxy, then they need to make sure they are able to vote at your polling station on your behalf.

– If you suddenly become unable to vote in person, due to a medical emergency or because your occupation, service or employment means you cannot go to the polling station, then you may be entitled to appoint an emergency proxy.

– You can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on the day of the referendum. Contact South Tyneside Council’s elections team direct about this, on (0191) 424 7230.

:: What to take to the polling station:

– A face covering (unless exempt), a poll card and a pen or pencil – although clean pencils will be available.

– If you don’t have your poll card with you, tell the polling station staff your name and your address and they can check whether you are on the electoral register.

:: Social media:

Don’t take a picture of yourself inside the polling station as if you post this it could be a breach of the law.

:: Filling in the ballot paper:

– Staff will be on hand at the polling station to provide advice on the voting process.

– Those who are disabled can ask the presiding officer for help and they can mark the ballot papers for you. You can also ask someone else to help (e.g. a close relative, friend or support worker, who is an eligible elector).

– Those who have a visual impairment can ask for a large print copy of the ballot paper, a special voting device that allows them to vote on their own in secret, or a magnifying glass, or they can use a magnifying app on their own mobile phone.