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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Castle doubles as polling station
The old kitchen at Caerhays
The old kitchen has two voting booths
For 75 voters in south Cornwall the trip to cast their votes on Thursday should prove a pleasant excursion.

Caerhays Castle near St Austell is taking its place alongside schools and village halls as a polling station.

The castle's old kitchen is providing a temporary home for two officials from Restormel Borough Council and two voting booths for the local elections.

After the village hall closed a new voting venue was needed so the castle's owner Julian Williams stepped in.

'Fantastic azaleas'

"It is the first time the castle has been used for voting," said Cheryl Kufel, estate secretary.

"There are 75 people able to vote here and we opened for voting from 0700 and we had a couple of people in to vote shortly after that."

She said there was plenty for voters to see on their way to and from the ballot box.

"The rhododendrons and azaleas are fantastic at the moment."

The castle, which dates from 1370, is set in 100 acres and has been owned by the Williams family since 1853.

Overlooking Porthluney Cove, Caerhays is famed for its gardens which are open to the public for three months every year.

Although the castle has never been used as a polling station before the Williams family are no strangers to politics.

Michael Williams, who bought Caerhays in 1853 was MP for West Cornwall, John Charles Williams was an MP from 1892-95, as well as county councillor, and Rt Hon Charles Williams was MP for Torquay from 1924-55.

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