The site manager of the school polling station that had locked gates says it was a misunderstanding.

James Dyer, 67, who looks after Scott’s Park Primary School in Sundridge Park, explained he and the headteacher made the decision because last time staff members’ cars were damaged by voters.

On Election Day (May 22) Bromley Council received a number of complaints from residents who said they had nowhere to park at the site.

But Mr Dyer today said pedestrian access was available nearby – and after someone from the electoral team visited the school he unlocked the gates.

He said: “Last time this place was used for parking teachers’ cars were damaged.

“There was pedestrian access down the road. But people didn’t want to walk.

“Someone came down from Bromley Council and saw the situation – we decided that we would open up the other playground and put the teachers’ cars there.

“I wasn’t happy about it – we don’t normally put a load of cars on the playground.

“We weren’t trying to stop people voting. It was all sorted by lunchtime.”

Chairman of Bickley Conservatives, Kevin Taylor, told News Shopper he went down to the school after locals told him they had been unable to get in and cast their votes.

The 41-year-old described it as “outrageous” and said he had notified the Electoral Commission.

A council spokeswoman said it was “fixed very quickly” and the gates were soon arranged to be open throughout the day.