Cafe and football club at heart of election day polling action in Sheffield

Owner Pete Sparks outside Bank View Cafe at Langsett
Owner Pete Sparks outside Bank View Cafe at Langsett

The owner of this Sheffield cafe had a front row view for the Tour de France – and now he will be in pole position for the general election rollercoaster too.

Bank View Cafe in Langsett is one of the more unusual venues which will be pressed into service as a polling station in the city on May 7 – along with RJ’s Gym in Frecheville and the Sheffield United Academy in Shirecliffe.

Voters choosing the next MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge will be able to enjoy a snack while they mark their X on the spot on May 7 because the cafe will stay open.

Owner Pete Sparks said: “We see it all up here!

“On the day we do get a few coming in as it is quite a small community and there aren’t many places where it could be done – we probably get a couple of hundred people.”

In Sheffield Hallam – one of the most closely watched in the country with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defending the seat – voters can reshape the political future at historic football club Hallam FC off Sandygate Road, the world’s oldest club.

Co-chairman Chris Taylor said: “It’s amazing how many people we get coming in on polling day and saying they had no idea it was a football club.”

There are 239 polling stations in total .

Sheffield Council has increased the number after chaotic scenes in 2010 when people were queuing outside at 10pm and stations closed before they could vote.

John Mothersole, returning officer, said: “Additional polling stations were added in specific areas where pressure was greatest, including two at Endcliffe Student Village. We have also increased the number of staff at many polling stations, improved training and introduced a system of polling station inspectors to identify early and address any issues.

“Nationally, rules around voting have been amended so anyone who is at the polling station by 10pm will be issued with a ballot paper and allowed to vote.

“We are confident everyone who wishes to vote in the general and local elections on May 7 will be able to do so, but we would still encourage people to vote as early as possible in the day and not leave it until the last minute.”

Residents have until Monday April 20, to register to vote – with around 45,000 still missing from the register last week.

n Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/vote to register.