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Neighbourhood Plan Referendum date now set for 10th September

posted 31 Jul 2015, 01:40 by Parish Council Communications

At long last we have been given a date for the Referendum on the Freshford and Limpley Stoke Neighbourhood Plan. It is to be Thursday 10th September.

Getting this far has involved many people throughout our community. To do justice to all that work and commitment, what is important now is that all eligible residents cast their vote on 10th September. 

It will be a simple 'yes' or 'no' vote on whether you wish to support the Neighbourhood Plan. If more than 50% of votes are in favour, it will be adopted by Bath & North East Somerset and Wiltshire Councils and we will have the first cross-border Neighbourhood Plan in the UK.

Now it’s for you to decide whether you want the wishes of the community, as expressed in our Neighbourhood Plan, to influence planning decisions about our villages.

Neighbourhood Plans were introduced under the 2011 Localism Act to allow local communities to take control over their local destinies. Planning policies outlined in a Plan, once it is accepted, carry the same weight as county and national planning guidelines. This is a major advantage for forward-looking communities such as ours. To date there have been 53 referendums held on Neighbourhood Plans around the UK and all have been approved with an average 'yes' vote of over 80%.

As the first ‘cross-border’ (B&NES and Wilts) Neighbourhood Plan it was always going to be a trail-blazer but little did we realise at the start of the process just how long it would take:

  • Initial discussions in late-2011
  • Community meetings and workshops in Jan/Feb 2012
  • The formal launch of the project in June 2012
  • Then the four Working Groups and widespread community involvement
  • Distribution to every household of the ‘Making Progress’ questionnaire in Feb 2013
  • Publication of the Draft Plan in July 2013 followed by extensive community consultation
  • Revision of the Draft Plan and Formal Consultation in Jan 2014
  • Validation of Draft Plan by B&NES and Wilts Councils in Oct 2014
  • Endorsement, with minor modifications which were accepted by the parish councils, of the Draft Plan by the Independent Examiner in Feb 2015.

 A long journey - but now the ball is in your court!

Who can vote?

To vote in the Referendum you must be registered to vote in Freshford or Limpley Stoke and also be one of the following:

  • a British citizen living in the UK
  • a qualifying Commonwealth citizen living in the UK
  • a citizen of the Republic of Ireland living in the UK
  • a European Union citizen living in the UK
  • someone registered to vote as a Crown Servant
  • someone registered to vote as a service voter

Where do I vote?

You vote as usual for local elections, Freshford residents in Freshford Village Memorial Hall and Limpley Stoke residents in Limpley Stoke Village Hall.

What if I’m unable to vote on 10th September?

You can arrange for either a Proxy Vote or for a Postal Vote. The forms you will need are available for download here. The forms must be completed and then returned by post. Please note that an application for a Postal Vote must be received by 25th August. Please also note that, whenever you send in for a postal vote, they will all be sent out on 1st September to arrive on 2nd September. If you will be away from home by then you should use a Proxy Vote instead. Applications for a Proxy Vote must be received by 2nd September.

You will find further information on the Neighbourhood Plan pages on the website.

Whether you can be there on 10th September or not, please make sure you vote one way or the other. A high turnout would be a wonderful demonstration of the care we have for our villages and our community. This is an un-missable opportunity to ensure that our local wishes are reflected in planning decisions made on our behalf.

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