7 February 2005


Following the count in Macduff today local MSP Stewart Stevenson, who had organised a consultative referendum on proposed sale of land at Canal Park in Banff to Tesco for a new supermarket, announced the results.

To the question

Tesco wish to buy Canal Park in Banff and build a supermarket and car park on the site. Canal Park was left to the people of Banff and Macduff and is now held by Aberdeenshire Council. The land includes a football pitch, tennis courts and the Bridge Street community centre.

If sold, the council will use the money from the sale to replace and enhance these facilities at other sites in Banff and Macduff. They also pledge to have the new facilities open before closing the old ones.

Overall, are you in favour of the above?

2,583 (64.57%) voted 'YES', 1,389 (34.72%) voted 'NO' and there were 28 spoiled ballot papers. The turnout overall (4,000 votes) was 66.40%.

Speaking after the count Mr Stevenson said,

“This has been a highly successful exercise with a higher turnout than at recent Parliamentary or Council elections. With two thirds of those voting indicating support for the Council's plans, a community previously divided can now see a way forward.

“The scale of the voting indicates that when you engage the electorate in an issue about which they feel strongly, make it easy for them to vote by providing a 'Freepost' envelope for return of voting slips and consult with and gain agreement both sides about the question to be asked, democracy wins.

“The difficulties being experienced in the Edinburgh City Tolls referendum where the advocate of the scheme is organising the ballot and setting the question are perhaps unsurprising by comparison.”
Commenting on the organisation of the referendum, Mr Stevenson continued,

“I now have even more respect for our local election officials. The effort involved was much more substantial than I initially released. I will take some persuading to organise another such ballot!”

Stewart Stevenson
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