Copeland Borough Council will decide on proposals for a number of alternative polling stations for the upcoming local elections, suggested either due to safety issues or to prevent "further disruption" to school education.

Local elections are set to take place across the country on May 6. In Copeland, this will mean elections for the office of Police and Crime Commissioner, a borough council by-election for the Whitehaven Central ward, and potentially county council elections as well.

However, in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a number of locations normally used as polling stations have been suggested as unsuitable, and alternatives have been proposed.

At next Tuesday's full council meeting, members will decide whether to agree to the proposed new locations for nine polling stations.

Council documents prepared for next week's meeting explain: "At the time of writing, uncertainty remains as to whether the county council elections will go ahead.

"As we await the Governments decision on this, planning will continue on the basis that these elections will go ahead".

Polling stations that have previously been hosted in schools have been relocated, as have polling stations which are hosted in private homes, as these have been deemed "high risk venues" in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are also ongoing or planned refurbishment works at Lamplugh Village Hall and Frizington Youth Centre, so alternative sites have also been proposed for these locations.

Council documents explain that "one of the early decisions taken across the county, was that, where possible, the use of schools as polling stations should be avoided to avoid any further disruption to education.

"The exception to this is where a separate room is available so that the school can remain open."

The following changes are proposed:

- Cleator Moor Nursery to Cleator Moor Civic Hall;

- The two polling stations in St Gregory & St Patrick’s School in Whitehaven to St Begh’s Social Centre, Coach Road, Whitehaven and St Andrews Church Hall Meadow Road, Whitehaven;

- Black Combe Junior School in Millom to The Palladium Theatre St Georges Road, Millom;

- 24 Asby Road, Asby to Adams Memorial Hall, Barwise Row, Arlecdon;

- 51 Pica Cottages, Pica to Distington Community Centre, Church Road, Distington;

- 8 Rutland Avenue, Whitehaven to St Andrews Church Hall Meadow Road, Whitehaven;

- Lamplugh Village Hall Lamplugh, to Kirkland Mission, Kirkland, Frizington;

- Frizington Youth Centre Off Church Street, Frizington to St Joseph’s Community Centre, Yeathouse Road, Frizington.

Council documents add that "a full risk assessment of all polling stations will be undertaken in advance of polling day.

"This will allow the returning officer to determine what measures are needed to ensure the safety of staff and electors at each polling station."