The local elections have been a busy time for the regional news websites I work with – not just in terms of amount of work but also users visiting the sites. Despite low turnouts at the polls, audience data suggests an interest in local politics at a level we haven’t seen previously – a bounce caused by UKIP or because so many counts now happen during the day?
Amid the many stories we’ve published over the past few days, this one from the Huddersfield Examiner really sticks in the memory – the council which finds its own sports centre too expensive to hire, and hires a cheaper church instead.
Kirklees Council is hiring space in a church to count election votes today – and it’s cheaper than hiring two halls it owns.
Previously election ballots have been counted at town halls or Huddersfield and Dewsbury sport centres – the latter are buildings Kirklees owns but are managedby Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL).
Kirklees Council say the move is the “significantly” cheaper option and a spokesman added: “Cathedral House is a bigger, better and more cost-effective venue to hold the elections as all the counts could be in one place, along with all the security.
“Kirklees Active Leisure is a company, separate to Kirklees Council, so when the council used it for election counts the council had to pay to hire it like anyone else, and there was also the issue of the loss of revenue because the rest of the sports centre would have to shut too.”
How odd that this has only become an issue this year.