Earls Barton residents vote overwhelmingly in favour of neighbourhood plan

Residents have voted in favour of the neighbourhood plan
Residents have voted in favour of the neighbourhood plan

Residents in a Northamptonshire village have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a neighbourhood plan that allows the community to influence development of the local area.

Voters in Earls Barton went to the polls yesterday (Thursday) to decide on the question: “Do you want the Borough Council of Wellingborough to use the neighbourhood plan for Earls Barton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

It gives local residents a real say in planning matters that affect them

Cllr Robert Gough

The result, which was declared at 11.20pm, was 1,071 yes votes and 80 no votes.

The turnout was 28 per cent.

Under neighbourhood planning rules, if more than 50 per cent of people voting support the plan then it will come into force.

This means that the plan, which sets out a framework for the village including new housing, local employment, transport, leisure, health and education facilities, will be taken into account when proposals for development are considered.

Cllr Robert Gough, borough and parish councillor for Earls Barton, and chairman of the neighbourhood plan project group, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the result.

“The plan is the result of a lot of hard work by the people of Earls Barton.

“It gives local residents a real say in planning matters that affect them.

“The community is now able to influence the specific way planned development should be delivered.

“It’s not a tool to block development; it’s a way to positively plan for and shape the growth of the village in line with residents’ aspirations.

“It’s been a long and very thorough process to get to this point and I couldn’t be happier that our plan will now become a reality.”

Neighbourhood plans were introduced under the Localism Act in 2011 as a way to help communities influence the planning of the area they live and work in.

For the first time, residents were able to prepare plans with real legal weight, which if they achieved successful local support through referendum, would be adopted by the local planning authority and be used when determining planning applications.

Earls Barton neighbourhood plan is the first plan of its kind to go to referendum in the borough of Wellingborough.

The borough council will adopt the plan as soon as is practicable.