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News of the Neighbourhood Plan Referendum

posted 14 Apr 2015, 06:39 by Parish Council Communications
These things take time!  In February we heard that the Independent Examiner had accepted the Freshford and Limpley Stoke Neighbourhood Plan and was recommending that it should proceed to referendum.  We hoped then that it might be possible to hold the referendum on May 7th, the same day as the General Election.  Unfortunately, with the Parliamentary, B&NES and Parish Council elections all scheduled for that same day, the B&NES Electoral Services team are fully stretched and our referendum could not be included (the Wiltshire team, who don't have local elections at the same time, could have coped).  However we have now heard that the both teams will be getting together just a few days after the General Election to start planning for our referendum.  Soon after, we hope to be able to circulate the details to residents.

The fact that representatives of two County Councils are having to get together to make these arrangements highlights the unique nature of the Freshford and Limpley Stoke Neighbourhood Plan and why people from far and wide are watching our progress with interest – ours is, as far as we are aware, the only Neighbourhood Plan that spans county boundaries and so we have been breaking new ground in gaining co-operation between County Councils.

Once accepted, the Neighbourhood Plan will: 
  • recognise the strengths and opportunities for Freshford and Limpley Stoke and provide a strategy for the next 25 years
  • provide a uniform and consistent approach to sustainable planning development within the two parishes
  • support some strictly controlled infill development within the Settlement Areas, thus meeting the requirement for sustainable development while further strengthening protection for the rest of the Neighbourhood
  • encapsulate the views of residents through a comprehensive consultation process (singled out for praise by the Independent Examiner)
  • become a legally binding part of the planning process which must be taken full account in all planning decisions - particularly important both in terms of planning design and the overall appearance of any development and in terms of restricting sustainable development to the settlement areas
  • establish the importance of the community hub centred on the community shop and Hall
  • reinforce the special protection afforded to the Tyning and the King George V Play Park and
  • record detailed information on the environment which will be of  considerable value in the years ahead.
When the referendum finally comes it will be the culmination of a great deal of hard work by a significant number of residents from our two communities – and it would be a really wonderful display of community spirit if as many of us as possible turn out to vote.
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