A petition set up to block William Hill’s gambling license on Plumstead High Street has broken through 1000 in just a small number of days. It currently stands just past 1,100 at the time of writing.
Even accounting for people not living in Plumstead, or duplicate signatures, this cannot easily be dismissed. Reaching such a figure shows the power of social media and the internet in gaining publicity of issues and highlighting recent events and failings in planning.
This shows the level of engagement in the area towards local events. Local politicians ignore such numbers and strength of feeling at their peril. For years places like Plumstead have been taken for granted by local politicians. Department failing aren’t properly investigated and councillors seem more concerned with protecting them that seeking answers.
Things are changing, word is being spread far and wide online and people are aware of what’s happening despite the collapse in traditional newspapers.
Facebook groups have a reach of thousands, more and more local blogs are operating, Twitter is being widely used and e-petitions highlight the frustration of many. Step by step, improvements are happening and the local authority will have to improve, increase transparency and effectiveness. The many recent failings are being highlighted to many, and so far the response hasn’t been very positive.