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Thumbs Up to Neighbourhood Plans

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Many local communities are under threat of aggressive housing development and have recognised how important it is to prepare and vote in favour of a Neighbourhood Plan. This provides such communities with a statutory instrument that will help to give residents some measure of control and influence over what and where new housing is built in their area. So it is encouraging to see that Yesterday (Thursday 5th March) a record six Neighbourhood Plan referendums took place on the same day.

Residents of Wing and Great Horwood in Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, voted in favour of introducing their Plans by 94.5 per cent and 91 per cent respectively.

Residents of another Buckinghamshire town, Chalfont St Peter, also voted in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan for their area, with a 79 per cent 'yes' vote.

Successful Neighbourhood Plan ballots were also held in Horninglow and Eton, East Staffordshire (88.5 per cent voted 'yes'), Ardingly, Mid Sussex (88 per cent), and Denmead, Winchester (66.3 per cent). The Department for Communities and Local Government said yesterday that the ballots took the total number of Neighbourhood Plan referendums to 60.

A Neighbourhood Planning update produced by the department last month said that in the first 52 referendums the average 'yes' vote was 88 per cent and the average voter turnout 32 per cent. According to the document, the highest 'yes' vote was in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, with a 98 per cent vote in favour.

Our congratulations to the wisdom shown by these communities. Let us hope that Haddenham will follow suit in the coming months. Until this process is completed, we remain vulnerable — arguably even more so, now that Wing and other local communities have completed their Plans.

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