Deputy leader disappointed by voter apathy after low turnout in Neighbourhood Plan ballots

The deputy leader of Lichfield District Council has admitted his frustration at continued “apathy” from voters.

Local residents are due to go to the polls in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections next month, with an EU referendum ballot also on the horizon.

Cllr Ian Pritchard

Cllr Ian Pritchard

But with a recent by-election in the Chadsmead ward producing a turnout of under 22% and Neighbourhood Plan referendums in Little Aston and Stonnall generating voter numbers of just 21.5% and 29.68% respectively, Cllr Ian Pritchard told a meeting of Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet of his frustration at a lack of engagement in the political process.

“The electorate continually disappoint me,” he said. “The low level of turnout and the general apathy to voting for a Neighbourhood Plan, a Police and Crime Commissioner or a local election is very sad.

“I’m not sure what more we can do to improve turnout as we’re doing everything we can to generate interest.”

Diane Tilley, the local authority’s electoral registration officer, said the turnout in the area reflected national trends.

She added: “In terms of the Neighbourhood Plan votes there’s little we can do as it’s down to those proposing them to persuade people to go out and vote.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

10 Comments

  1. Frustrated

    8th April, 2016 at 10:05 am

    You do not listen to us, EVER.

    Planning applications, you ignore all sensible comments. Local people know nothing.
    Library, you ignore us.
    Leaders car, you ignore us.
    When we contact our Councillors, they ignore us, or do nothing.
    Councillors don’t bother to turn up for meetings.
    Our MP doesn’t care.
    I could go on for hours.

    Maybe if you cared about us, at times, we would care about you.

  2. Darryl

    8th April, 2016 at 10:13 am

    “The electorate continually disappoint me,”

    What an astonishing coincidence, the elected supremely disappoint me.

  3. Sue woodward

    8th April, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Please don’t tar all councillors with the same brush, Frustrated. I ALWAYS respond to calls and emails etc and, unlike some, I don’t just turn up to meetings but I make sure I read all of the background papers beforehand as well as doing my own research. I’ve also held surgeries ever since I was first elected, deliver regular newsletters and go out knocking on people’s doors to discuss local issues.

    You wouldn’t judge all doctors or plumbers or shop assistants because you’re unhappy with some of them so please don’t judge all councillors through the prism of an unsatisfactory experience with a few.

    Constructive criticism, debate, feedback and even disagreements are fine but blanket condemnation just isn’t fair.

  4. Frustrated

    8th April, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Sue

    sorry, I was not including you in this, as you will see below, I have acknowledged that I appreciate you taking the time, to respond (below).

    Personally, I have contacted my MP, Councillor and the council (Lichfield and Staffordshire) for a number of years and never got any real help to solve a number of issues.

    Just a series of letters saying, nothing we can do. After a number of years of me chasing and then showing a total lack of interest. It does annoy me for Ian Pritchard to say we frustrate him.

    Maybe he should see the impact, some decisions and lack of interest have on people and especially their families.

    Frustrated 6th April, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Sue, I really appreciate that you and a couple of Councillors take the time to update us here.

    http://lichfieldlive.co.uk/2016/03/29/civic-budget-report-recommends-downgrading-chauffeur-driven-car-for-lichfield-district-council-chairman/

  5. Concerned Citizen

    8th April, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    I share Frustrated and Darryl’s thoughts. The Council Leader is quoted as saying that two thirds of Councillors do not pull their weight and it is a limited few who undertake the work. The Council does not seem to take note of the comments of the electorate. How long did it take for them to decide about the Civic car and what is the saving? Less than £10k. My recollection is that the Council undertook a survey of the local population over 12 months ago concerning how it could save money. Apart from the civic car, what were the conclusions? We have reduced the cost of the Chairman’s car but what else has the Council done based on this survey?
    Councillors need to listen to the the electorate. The lack of engagement of the electorate is because the voters recognise that most of the Members are not listening. The scale of the majority means that Tories can railroad any decision that suits them.
    In all the years I have lived in Lichfield, I have never been canvassed by a Councillor/Candidate nor have I had any information about what they are doing nor do they hold surgeries. Councillors need to be more visible if they want to gain the respect of voters.

  6. Time for change

    9th April, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Try responding to letters sent to you Cllr Pritchard….give us some confidence in you. Two sent and two years later still no response…..a request for your support to set up an enterprise hub in Lichfield.

    Please do not even get me started on the planning committee. The buildings that they have approved on the Friary and Swan Island are amongst the ugliest I have seen. Lack of vision, ambition and recognition of the responsibility of your legacy. You are quite frankly ruining Lichfield. I’ve also been hearing of some horrendous domestic planning approvals of late. Time for a serious shake up. Too many of the same faces, ex mayors and sherrifs on the same committees. Young blood and vision please.

  7. Chris

    11th April, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Voter apathy keeps people in year after year. He should be delighted by it. If the electorate actually woke up and paid attention to what was going on then changes would be far more likely, and the same old faces would be replaced.

  8. Nomad

    11th April, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    The problem is apathy,if people got out and voted we wouldn’t have to suffer this level of incompetence,no wonder councilors,never respond or listen to their constituents they know they have no chance of being voted out

  9. The Scribbler

    11th April, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Contrast the public reponse in Iceland from their PM getting caught up in the Panama Papers leaks, to the public’s reaction here. Until we decide to make our voices heard in a clear, constructiove way – and that isn’t on social media – then we get what we deserve from our politicians at both local and national level.
    We’ve lost the ability to take a wider view in this country.
    We’re all far too wrapped up in our little worlds that we simply ignore what is happening around us – unless it has a direct impact on us.
    We are apathetic.
    Our politicians are pathetic as a result.

  10. Mat

    11th April, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    There is a certain amount of truth in the leaders being to blame for the apathy. At the general election, no one distinguished between local and national politics. When we see the way the national politicians behave, is it any wonder that people say ” What’s the point?”
    More worryingly, for our local councillors would be the mood that I and my colleagues picked up on regarding the library. Disbelief and a feeling of being kept in the dark would sum it up nicely. A feeling that you might ask for input, but will do what you want to do in the end regardless of what we think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: