Distillery gets into the election spirit

Villagers in one Breckland ward will be able to treat themselves to a wee dram on May 5 as they queue up to vote at a local distillery.

The English Whisky Company has been named the official polling station for Roudham and Larling during next month's local council elections.

The Breckland parish has just 244 registered voters and, in previous years, a caravan has been hired for the day because of a lack of suitable community buildings.

Andrew Nelstrop, managing director of the English Whisky Company, at St George's Distillery, said he was happy to offer the venue after being approached by the district council.

He said: 'I would imagine they were all getting sick and tired of being in a caravan for 14 hours a day. We're at work from 5am until 7pm, so it won't have much of an effect on us.'

To make sure if it accessible for everyone, voting will take place in the main atrium of the business, where the coffee shop, whisky shop and tasting bar are also based.

Mr Nelstrop said: 'I'm absolutely convinced some of our neighbours have never been in so it would be lovely for them to see it. I would be very surprised if we don't have someone turning up at 7am to buy a bottle of whisky.'

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The managing director, who opened the English Whisky Company, England's only whisky distillery, with his father James in 2007, said activities at the polling station would not interfere with the business.

'We're used to having people wandering in and out all day anyway,' he said. 'The fact that some will be there to sign a bit of paper rather than browse, I don't think will make any difference.'

The whisky company is one of a number of unusual polling stations across Norfolk and North Suffolk set to be used for the elections on May 5.

Among the village halls, community centres and schools in Breckland will be the council's One Stop Bus. Usually used to help pensioners discover the internet or offer advice, it will become a polling station for the 102 electors in Merton.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council will be making use of the Centurion pub in Caister and the bowls pavillion on Marine Parade in Gorleston for its polling stations.

And in North Norfolk, which has previously used the dining room of a farmhouse in Matlaske, the Three Horseshoes pub at Scottow and the cricket pavilion at Barton Turf will also welcome voters.

victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk