A PRE-SCHOOL will be closing its sites on election day after concerns of “strongly opinionated” protesters.

East Cliff Pre-Schools will be hosting polling stations on July 4 at its locations in Bournemouth, Winton and Pokesdown.

However, despite the pre-schools having the space to still operate, staff have made the decision to close its sites to children over safeguarding concerns.

Beckie Capewell, manager and safeguarding lead of East Cliff Pre-Schools said the schools always put the children first and believes the election day poses a risk.

“Absolutely the pre-school group always put the families and children at the forefront of decisions,” said Beckie.

“We do not want children and families to have comments made to them about political or religious opinions.

“We feel that it is best to have them away where this could potentially happen.

“We have already seen it [protests] outside.

“We do not want to put them in that position.

“It is a huge political time and for one day, where the usual experience we give them is vast, putting them first is important.”

In a letter sent to parents, East Cliff Pre-School said the decision was made after consultation with Dorset Police.

It said: “The police feel we may be high risk for strongly opinionated people to be conversing or marching right where the children are.”

Dorset Police said it is not aware of any advice being given by them to the nursery in the event of a protest. 

A spokesperson said: "As always, we look for opportunities to liaise with the organisers of protests to ensure people can exercise their right to protest legally and safely without causing significant or ongoing disruption to residents, visitors and business owners in the town.

"We seek to facilitate peaceful protests, but public order or criminal offences will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly."

The polling stations in Holdenhurst Road, St Luke’s Road and Christchurch Road will be open from 7am until 10pm.

The general election was announced on May 22 after Rishi Sunak requested permission from the King to dissolve parliament.

People eligible to vote will take to the polling stations on July 4 across the country at venues such as schools, churches and village halls.

The last day to register to vote is on June 18 with postal-vote applications closing the following day.

MP candidates for Bournemouth East faced questions on June 11 at an election husting with a second to be held on June 19.

The event will focus on housing related questions and will be hosted by homelessness charity, Shelter, in collaboration with Citizens Advice.