Voters give neighbourhood plan the thumbs up

Councillors Martyn Rawlinson (left) and Javed Iqbal urge locals to vote
Councillors Martyn Rawlinson (left) and Javed Iqbal urge locals to vote
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Preston’s first neighbourhood plan has been given a massive vote of confidence by residents.

Householders in the Fishwick and St Matthews wards voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Inner East Preston scheme in a referendum held on Thursday.

Just over 1,000 people took part in the poll, with 972 saying yes to the plan and only 75 opposing it.

The turnout was a modest 13.8 per cent, although organisers were still delighted with the numbers who took the time to register their opinion.

“To get nearly 14 per cent is really good - to be honest we were hoping for 10 per cent,” said Coun Martyn Rawlinson, who represents Fishwick Ward on the city council.

“It was a really good response considering it was a difficult concept to sell to people.

“We have been working on this for two years and it has proved difficult for us. So trying to explain it to people and get them to vote was bound to be difficult.

“All that hard work has paid off with this positive result. Everyone connected with the plan is overjoyed.

“This is the only neighbourhood plan in Preston. Some bigger cities like Nottingham and Leeds have lots of them, but most are in rural areas. This is one of the first in an inner city community, so it has been getting quite a bit of attention nationally.

“This is not a negative idea to stop things happening, it’s a positive plan to make things happen. It’s all very exciting.”