Brass band takes to Preston streets for democracy

Photo Neil Cross The Red Rose band playing around Fishwick and St Matthews
Photo Neil Cross The Red Rose band playing around Fishwick and St Matthews
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A brass band has taken to the streets of a Preston community to help encourage neighbours to have their say in an impending referendum.

The Red Rose Brass Band could be heard around Fishwick and St Matthews on Saturday, ahead of the big vote on the Inner East Preston Neighbourhood Plan this Thursday.

Photo Neil Cross'The Red Rose band playing around Fishwick and St Matthews with community reps leafleting and encouraging people to vote in the local referendum next Thursda

Photo Neil Cross'The Red Rose band playing around Fishwick and St Matthews with community reps leafleting and encouraging people to vote in the local referendum next Thursda

The Friends of Fishwick and St Matthews handed out leaflets and talked to residents about the referendum, to persuade them to cast their vote for a planning document two years in the making.

If 50 per cent of voters say “yes” on Thursday, the plan will be adopted by Preston Council as a statutory planning document and protect green spaces, shopping areas, community facilities and employment areas in the inner east part of the city.

The secretary of the community group responsible for the plan, Grete Smith, said: “The Friends of Fishwick and St. Matthews have consulted residents widely on the contents of the neighbourhood plan. They have told us they want better green spaces, improved community facilities, protection of the local shops and improved employment opportunities.

“The neighbourhood plan will form the basis for these improvements and allow the community, the council and our partners to concentrate on achieving those aims.

“This plan will work hand in hand with our other project, the Big Local Plan, which is a one million pounds investment in the area. If enough residents vote ‘yes’ on Thursday, it will be one of the first neighbourhood plans delivered in an inner city area.”

Fishwick councillor Martyn Rawlinson said: “The more people that vote, the more of a mandate the plan has got to say the residents want this particular thing to happen or that particular thing not to happen.”

Explaining the idea behind the neighbourhood plan, he said: “The council has a plan for the whole of Preston that says you can build things there and not there. This is a very localised version of that for Fishwick and St Matthews.

“It’s a 50 per cent ‘yes’ vote we need, then if anybody proposes anything for Fishwick and St Matthews, the council will look at the plan to make sure it’s not prohibitive.”

The vote takes place this Thursday from 7am to 10pm.