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Weekly newspaper office to become polling station

A weekly newspaper office is set to be used as a polling station for the upcoming elections in May.

The local council wants to use the Hastings Observer’s base in St Leonards as a polling station on 22 May, when local elections and European Parliament elections are held.

It will be the second time the office in Telford Road has been used by voters in the Ashdown ward, after the newspaper stepped in to help in May 2012 when the original polling site at the Sussex Edwardian Hotel suddenly closed down before the election.

Hastings Borough Council approved the use of the office at a meeting on Monday along with other changes to polling stations, which is set to become a permanent arrangement for other elections.

Sol Bucker, acting news and content editor, is pictured outside the Hastings Observer's office, which will be used as a polling station.

The Johnston Press paper reports that it is believed to be the only newspaper office used as a polling station in the UK.

Acting news and content editor Sol Buckner said: “We stepped in at the last minute in 2012 to help the council out. And they liked our service so much they wanted to use us again.

“I believe we are the only newspaper office in the country that is used as a polling station.

“We are quite a prominent building in the town and easy to reach so hopefully it will inspire more people to come out and vote on the day.”

Council spokesman Kevin Boorman said: “We are also proposing the building is used as a permanent polling station, not just for the 2014 elections.

“The main advantage is its location, visibility and good public transport links, together with parking area. We can’t comment as to whether the electorate preferred it as there were no comments raised either way after the 2012 election.

“Disability access is on a par with Sussex Edwardian, but the Observer is easier to get to, especially for those who rely on public transport.”