TURNOUT for the People’s Pledge referendum was higher than the turnout for last week’s Thurrock Council election.

The Electoral Reform Service, which was responsible for co-ordinating the People’s Pledge vote, issued 47,995 ballot papers to voters in 14 wards, with a turnout of 30.4 per cent.

The borough voted in favour of an EU referendum, with 89 per cent saying they agree to there being a vote on whether the UK should be involved in Europe.

In the local elections for Thurrock Council, of an electorate of 98,303, only 27.15 per cent voted for a councillor in 17 wards.

This year’s turnout is also down eight per cent on last year’s for the local elections.

In May 2011, the lowest turnout was in Grays Riverside, where 27.24 per cent of the ward’s electorate voted.

This year, in Aveley and Uplands, where UKIP won it’s first ever seat on the council, 1,115 people voted in favour of an EU referendum, almost 200 more than the number of votes won by the top two candidates combined in the local election.

A turnout of 35.51 per cent in Corringham and Fobbing was the highest in the borough.

This seat, which was vacant before Thursday’s election, was won by Conservative candidate Andrew Roast. The lowest turnout, a miserable 19.25 per cent, was in Tilbury St Chads.

The second lowest turnout was in South Chafford, where more votes were cast in favour of an EU referendum in the People’s Pledge than were for the winning candidate, Charlie Key.

Only one in five residents opted to vote for a councillor in the ward. Cllr Key said: “It would be wrong for me to blame the weather for the turnout on the day, there are a number of reasons why people chose not to vote.

“I understand many residents are losing faith in local politics, but we have a number of real issues affecting the area.

“These are issues I am working hard with local MP Jackie Doyle-Price and councillor Tunde Ojetola to address, but we need greater involvement from the Chafford community to push forward.”

Several councillors, including Labour’s Oliver Gerrish, who was re-elected to his seat in West Thurrock and South Stifford with a 24.1 per cent turnout and Joy Redsell, re-elected as Tory councillor for the Little Thurrock Blackshots ward, said the weather was partially to blame for low turnouts.

Council leader John Kent, who saw a 21.1 per cent turnout in his Grays Riverside Ward ward, said: “It was a disappointingly low turnout across Thurrock.

“Parties need to look at themselves at how to deal with these consistently low turnouts.”