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Elmswell referendum ends one-year struggle over new eco homes despite low voter turnout





A referendum in Elmswell has seen a resounding result despite a low turnout.

The vote has put an end to a one-year-old struggle over a piece of land north of Church Road which saw residents opposing plans for 50 eco homes to be built on the site.

This is because many had hoped plans for a new school and community facility would come to fruition.

Elmswell referendum puts an end to a one-year struggle over plans for new eco homes. Picture: submitted
Elmswell referendum puts an end to a one-year struggle over plans for new eco homes. Picture: submitted

The opposition saw many seeking to exclude the piece of land from the settlement boundary, effectively making new housing on the site harder to build.

Elmswell Parish Clerk, Peter Dow, said: “It gives us more control to protect the land for what the residents of Elmswell want — people are fed up with overdevelopment.”

This was put to a vote through a referendum seeking residents’ views on integrating Mid Suffolk Council’s Neighbourhood Plan into planning decision-making, where a provision included the boundary change.

The referendum receives resounding results despite low turnout. Picture: submitted
The referendum receives resounding results despite low turnout. Picture: submitted

The referendum received 654 ballot papers in total, with 606 votes (92.6 per cent) for, 45 (6.88 per cent) against, and three rejected for being left void or unmarked.

However, with a 3798-strong electorate, this means the decision was made on the back of a 17.22 per cent resident turnout.

Nevertheless, Mr Dow said although the council had never ‘taken anything for granted’, the result was in line with resident feedback and highlighted the trust placed in councillors

He added: “The turnout was exactly as you would expect unless there was a lot of trouble flying about, which reassuringly there wasn’t.

“Residents were really just saying we were going along the right lines, and to keep on it, and nobody was very anxious about it.”