With a resounding victory, both residents and businesses have afforded their approval of the Central Ealing Neighbourhood Plan. Yesterday’s results, which came to light at around noon, show absolute firm support for the motion, with 92.4% of residents and 91.5% of businesses voting in favour. This decisive result means that the Plan will now become a part of the statutory development plan for the area and, for many locals, will be marked as a key point at which decision-making power has shifted into more appropriate hands.
The results do not reflect the relatively poor turnout. Of the eligible business voters there was a turnout of 45.4%, which amounts to 59 votes. Residential votes however have been particularly damning, with a pitiful turnout of only 17.2% of those eligible (which amounts to 2,630 votes). What may be drawn from this then is either widespread apathy regarding the Plan or, as shown to be likely in our referendum day coverage, a simple lack of awareness of what it would entail. Indeed, some have even expressed that they were simply unaware of the Plan and the referendum’s existence.
In respect of getting their message out both loudly and clearly it may be said that the ‘Yes’ campaign have failed. Certainly though they’ve not come up short in terms of their desired outcome, and with the Plan now due to be quickly implemented into local legislation, we will see what it can truly do for the area. Chair of the Central Ealing Neighbourhood Forum, Tony Miller, was proud to announce that this will “influence the way Ealing looks and works in years to come” and that Forum members “look forward to to continuing this co-operation with the Council in getting it implemented”. That a number of councillors have been instrumental in the Plan’s conception would suggest that this feeling is mutual.