PLANS to reduce the number of schools used as polling stations to avoid disruption to education have been welcomed.

East Renfrewshire Council backed proposals which would cut primary school usage from 14 to 11.

The move is part of a statutory review of East Renfrewshire’s polling districts, which must be completed by April 2020.

It would see Glen Halls, in Neilston; Netherlee Pavilion; and Montgomerie Hall, in Eaglesham; replace Neilston Primary, Netherlee Primary and Eaglesham Primary.

Broom Parish Church would also be used instead of Crookfur Pavilion, which is to be demolished and replaced with a nursery.

Councillor Jim Swift said: “Frankly, both parents commonly work nowadays and it’s extraordinarily inconvenient for us to close schools.

“It’s not good for children either, who are missing a day of school for an election, though they may rejoice. I certainly would have.”

The review must ensure polling places are practical and accessible for all.

Councillor Angela Convery said: “This is something that I have actively fought for as I believe it is in the best interests of our schools to use them for the purpose they are built.”

During initial consultation, 28 responses were received, with 26 requesting alternative locations to schools being identified.

A report to councillors states “where there is a suitable alternative venue available, non-school premises will be used.”

Proposed changes to UK constituencies could see the Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor area become part of the Renfrewshire West and Garnock Valley constituency.

If the changes go ahead, East Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Council will discuss the new polling schemes.

The draft polling scheme suggests Mure Hall, in Uplawmoor, and Cross Arthurlie Primary, Dalmeny Community Centre, St Andrew’s Parish Church, Carlibar Primary and Auchenback Resource Centre, all in Barrhead, are used.

It would also see St Cadoc’s Primary and Crookfur Primary, in Newton Mearns, operate as polling stations.

Thornliebank Primary, Giffnock Primary, Braidbar Primary, Our Lady of the Missions Primary and Carmichael Hall would be used in Thornliebank and Giffnock.

In Clarkston, Netherlee and Williamwood, the stations would include Clarkston Hall, Williamwood Parish Church, Carolside Primary and Busby Primary.

Fairweather Hall, Kirkhill Primary and Mearns Kirk Church Hall are also suggested.

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