Portlethen pilot scheme

Aberdeenshire Council will pilot a new transportation service in Portlethen during the upcoming Local Government Elections on May 3.

A community ambulance will be made available on polling day to transport voters who may experience difficulty accessing their polling station due to disability or age.

The initiative is being trialled following changes to polling arrangements in the Portlethen North polling district and bookings are now being taken.

Those who previously voted at the Jubilee Hall will now cast their ballots at Portlethen Church Hall, with voters living in the Hillside area of the town now also voting there, as part of their own polling district, rather than at Banchory-Devenick School.

Returning Officer and Aberdeenshire Council Chief Executive, Colin Mackenzie, said: “This new service reflects the council’s commitment to ensure that all those wishing to vote at the Local Government Elections on May 3, are able to do so.

“Our top priority is to help make casting that all important vote as easy as possible for all residents in Aberdeenshire, and ensuring that age, disability or lack of access to private transport is no barrier to the voting process.

“I hope we have a good uptake for this service and would urge those who may qualify to book their places as soon as possible.”

The council’s elections co-ordinator, Allan Bell, added: “While it is a limited service, we believe it is quite innovative in the context of electoral participation and, as a pilot, will help us identify if it is something we might be able to roll out elsewhere at future elections.”

The new service, which is free of charge, is being run in partnership with Portlethen Community Ambulance and will be available only to those registered to vote at the Church Hall. The ambulance is wheel-chair accessible.

Anyone wishing to use the service on Thursday, May 3 is asked to book in advance by calling (01224) 664176 between 10am and 4pm up until Wednesday, May 2.

While every effort will be made to accommodate all those who wish to use the pilot service, it will be organised on a first-come, first-served basis.