SOME would-be voters say they “gave up” after long queues formed at the polling station in Middleton-St-George.

Voting is taking longer this year due to extra restrictions in place to comply with coronavirus guidance, with many polling stations reducing the number of people allowed in at a time.  

There were complaints from people in Middleton St George, near Darlington, where there were reports of people having to wait 40 minutes outside the Women's Institute Hall, in Neasham Road.

One Northern Echo reader got in touch describing it as a “complete shambles” while several people reported on social media that they had given up on waiting and gone home as a result of the delay.

Darlington Borough Council said it was aware of an issue and had increased the number of polling booths to help speed up the process, while making adjustments to the internal layout of the building.

Returning officer Luke Swinhoe apologised and said everyone who wished to cast a vote would have the opportunity.

He said: “Voting can take a little longer than normal in some polling stations because of the need to manage the number of people entering the polling station to comply with coronavirus guidance.  

“At Middleton St George, while things were OK at the start of the day, some residents may have had to queue for longer than they might normally expect.

“There was an issue with the number of polling booths available within this polling station and this led to a queue forming. We did increase the number of polling booths and made some adjustments to the internal layout to help in increasing the flow of people through the polling station, while staying within Covid guidelines.

“I am sorry this happened, and we would like to thank those who waited for their patience.

“Finally, it is important to stress that the polls remain open until 10pm tonight and that everyone who wishes to vote will have that opportunity.”

People in the village are voting for the next Tees Valley mayor and for a new Police and Crime Commissioner.