ELECTION 2015: Voters head to the polls in Thirsk

The Reading Rooms, Rosedale, is one of 133 polling stations used in this year's General Election.
The Reading Rooms, Rosedale, is one of 133 polling stations used in this year's General Election.

Voters are heading to the polls across Thirsk, Malton and Filey.

Seven candidates will battle it out to replace Anne McIntosh as the MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey after she was controversially de-selected by the local Conservative Association last year.

Her successor, Kevin Hollinrake, is widely tipped to reclaim the seat for Thirsk and Malton – traditionally a Conservative friendly area – hovever, the 11,000 majority enjoyed by Ms McIntosh in 2010, could be under threat from a host of challengers.

Among these is Liberal Democrat Di Keal whose husband, Howard, challenged for the seat five years ago and polled well with the electorate to finish runner-up to Ms McIntosh.

Labour’s Alan Avery is also hopeful of a good showing as is Toby Horton, the UKIP candidate, who could pick up votes from disillusioned Tory voters.

John Clark, a member of the Liberal Party, will be battling away in his third General Election in the constituency, while an energy company’s plans to extract gas by fracking in Ryedale has led to the emergence of Chris Newsam, of The Green Party, and Indepedent Philip Tate, both of whom are mainly standing on an anti-fracking ticket.

Meanwhile, some uncertainty reigns with candidates standing in the Ryedale District Council elections.

With a higher than usual turnout expected on Thursday, due to the General Election, many are finding it difficult to predict the outcome in several wards.

However, the Tories are hopeful of a repeat of 2011 which saw the party earn a majority by winning 20 of the available 30 seats, thanks to the larger turnout of True Blue voters.

The Liberal Party, which emerged as the main opponent to the Conservatives at Ryedale House in the past four years, is also expected to poll well with voters, while the Liberal Democrats are aiming to recapture some of the seats lost in 2011.

UKIP and Labour have also put forward several candidates while many people in Ryedale are interested to see what the strength of feeling is locally surrounding fracking – and whether that transfers to the polls – as the Green Party has put up several candidates, with a record number of Independents also standing, many of whom are vocal anti-fracking campaigners.

There will also be several parish council elections held tomorrow at Allerston, Great and Little Barugh, Helmsley, Huttons Ambo, Kirby Grindalythe, Scagglethorpe, Thornton-le-Dale, Weaverthorpe and West Heslerton.

It is estimated that the General Election count will be revealed at 3.30am and the district results at 8am on Friday.

There are 133 polling stations, 268 ballot boxes and postal ballot boxes in the Thirsk and Malton constituency

A total of 408 people will man the polling stations with 98 people counting the votes.

Voters will be asked to vote for an MP and, where applicable, representative(s) on Ryedale District Council and Parish Councils.

The polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday May 7.

Voters are asked to bring their Polling Card with them to the polling station, although this is not essential. Only individuals listed on the Register of Electors may vote.

The count will be held at Malton Community Sports Centre, Broughton Road.