There was a ‘no’ vote majority in today’s Uckfield Parish Poll about on-street parking provision in the High Street.
A total 1773 votes were cast out of a possible 11,586. Of those 1,489 were ‘no’ votes and 277 ‘yes’. Seven ballot papers were rejected.
That means 15.3% of the electorate turned out which is low in comparison with turnouts for town council by-elections which see between 15% and 30% turnout, district elections which see between 30 and 35% and General Elections which see a turnout of about 70%. These figures were given by returning officer Charles Lant.
The question asked in the Parish Poll was: “Do you support the removal of current on-street parking provision in Uckfield High Street?”
Polling Stations were open between 4 and 9pm and the count, which took place at Ridgewood Village Hall straight afterwards, was all over before 10.30pm.
Josh Gibbens who led the call for a poll to be conducted was there along with other ‘No’ vote campaigners to verify the count. He said later that he was pleased with the turnout and with the result.
The results of the poll are not binding but the Town Centre Regeneration Board, which is drawing up proposals for High Street improvements, has said it will take the vote into account along with other information gathered in the course of a review of plans.
• Figures recorded by the town council for previous elections show that the turnout for county council elections in Uckfield in May 2013 was 32.3%.
The turnout for district council elections for Uckfield in May 2011 was 48.15% in Ridgewood Ward, 38.8% in North Ward, 44.77% in New Town Ward and 51.33% in Central Ward.
The turnout for the Parliamentary election for Wealden in May 2010 was 71.91%.
Town council elections for 2011 were uncontested.
The Government is intending to modernise parish poll regulations and recently completed a consultation on the matter.
One of the reasons for the review is that parish polls are a high cost consultation method. A survey of 150 parishes found they cost in the region of £5,000 to £8,000.
A number of problems were identified with the system including the trigger. The number of electors needed for a poll to be taken was very low and there was evidence that the low threshold resulted in the poll process being “inappropriately exploited”. In one case a poll was called by 11 residents, the minority of those present at the meeting and resulted in a poll turnout of 13%.
The voting arrangements, with no provision for proxy or postal votes and the hours available, were considered to be out of date possibly resulting in reduced participation.
Read more detail about the review and the changes that could be made here.
Read how the parish poll came about in Uckfield here: Group moves to call referendum about on-street parking in Uckfield and Referendum to be held abouit on-street parking in Uckfield.
• Flashback to the results of consultations carried out in 2013 about changes planned for Uckfield town centre: Update on changes planned for Uckfield town centre.