Highlands caravan polling station faces closure

The caravan at Coulags, Balnacra in Strathcarron. Picture: Robert Perry

The caravan at Coulags, Balnacra in Strathcarron. Picture: Robert Perry

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ONE of the UK’s most unusual polling stations could be consigned to the history books as part of a shake-up of voting arrangements.

The polling station - officially called a ‘polling place’ because it is in Scotland - is an old caravan, serving a remote Highland community which has fewer than 100 electors.

The caravan, at Coulags, near Lochcarron in Wester Ross, has been run by the same family, the Mackays, for nearly 30 years.

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But councillors will decide this week be asked to rubber stamp proposals to approve the closure of the caravan and another 13 “polling places”.

Every time there is a major election, the little caravan has its time in the sun as it is highlighted as one of the strangest polling centres in the country.

If the closure is approved, it means the Scottish independence referendum would be the last vote to take place there.

There are fewer than 100 people on the electoral roll, including forestry workers and gamekeepers who live in the surrounding glen.

George and Jessie Mackay ran the polling station until Mrs Mackay’s retirement last year, when their daughter Ann took over.

The caravan saw just 26 people vote in the 2012 Westminster election, while 36 used it during the referendum vote in September this year.

It is proposed that the polling district will be merged with nearby Lochcarron.

Mr Mackay said: “I have quite enjoyed it. I met everybody there.

“It was a social occasion.”

Councillors at the community safety, public engagement and equalities committee will be asked to approve the closure.

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