Lechlade Neighbourhood Plan referendum signals milestone for Cotswolds
Release date: 6 September 2016
Local planning in the Cotswolds will reach a significant milestone on Thursday 13 October, when residents in Lechlade take part in a referendum on the town’s Neighbourhood Plan.
If more than 50% of the votes cast support the proposals, Cotswold District Council (CDC) will ‘make’ the plan, at which point it will form part of the Development Plan for the District – this means that all planning applications in Lechlade parish will be subject to the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan.
This is the first Neighbourhood Plan in the Cotswolds to reach the final referendum stage and marks the conclusion of a process which began in the summer of 2013 and led to the production of a draft Neighbourhood Plan which was submitted to CDC in December 2015. The plan was then considered by an independent examiner in February 2016, and, after agreeing some amendments arising from that examination, it is now ready for referendum on 13 October. Should it receive more than 50% of votes cast, it passes referendum, CDC has to ‘make’ the plan – at which point it will form part of the development plan for the district, and all planning applications in the parish will be subject to its policies.
All residents in the Lechlade Town Council area who are registered to vote will receive a poll card during the week beginning Monday 19 September.
Anyone who has not registered to vote must do so by midnight on Tuesday 27 September if they wish to take part in the referendum.
Other relevant deadlines
- Applications for postal votes – must be received by the CDC Elections Team by 5 pm on Wednesday 28 September
- Proxy vote applications – must be received by the CDC Elections Team by 5 pm on Wednesday 5 October
For more details see /about-the-council/elections/neighbourhood-planning-referendum/ or contact the Elections Team at email@example.com or call 01285 623002.
Commenting on this neighbourhood planning milestone, Cllr Sue Coakley, CDC Cabinet Member for Environment and Ward Member for Lechlade, Kempsford and Fairford South, said:
“This is a very positive step for local planning in Lechlade, and it is good to see that the town is leading the way in the District in this regard. Provided the referendum supports the Neighbourhood Plan on 13 October, local residents will have a policy-based way of making sure their views and wishes about the location and appearance of future developments are taken into account.”
CDC Cabinet Member for Forward Planning, Cllr Nick Parsons, is also pleased that Lechlade has reached this final stage in the process:
“Neighbourhood Planning is one of the powers introduced by the Localism Act to give residents more influence over planning issues within their area. Although they must follow national and local strategic policies, Neighbourhood Plans can give communities more of a say about what goes where, and what it looks like. This marks the culmination of a lot of hard work by the Town Council and officers at CDC and I am grateful to them for their efforts.”
In July and August 2013 Lechlade-on-Thames Town Council formed a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. CDC designated the Town Council as the "qualifying body" for preparing the Neighbourhood Plan in September 2013. Various events and meetings were held between 2013 and 2015 for public consultation purposes. These included a workshop in September 2013, a public consultation weekend in March 2014, a display with opportunities for questions and feedback in September 2014, and a public consultation procedure between February and April 2015. Numerous methods were used to inform local people and businesses of the consultation exercise, including emails, posted or hand-delivered notices, distribution of the plan in the Town Council offices and the town centre library, newsletters and newspaper articles, and a public exhibition in March 2015.
The Draft Plan was submitted to CDC in December 2015, and it was considered by an independent examiner in February 2016 who asked for a number of amendments to be drafted and agreed before it could be made ready for the referendum stage.