Shipston heads to the polls for the Neighbourhood Plan Referendum
The referendum to decide whether Shipston should adopt its Neighbourhood Plan takes place on 6th September 2018. The Plan includes proposals for the type and location of development, infrastructure and local services in the town.
Planning decisions are currently taken at district council level and local input from Shipston is limited. Having a Neighbourhood Plan in place would ensure the views of local residents – as expressed in an adopted Neighbourhood Plan – are taken into account when considering planning proposals. With an adopted plan, the town would also be eligible for 25% of any Community Infrastructure Levy (which developers now have to pay on developments of 11 units or more) instead of 15% without an adopted plan.
The referendum is the culmination of a long process, which began in 2012, when Shipston Town Council held a launch event to find out whether residents supported the idea of producing a Plan, and to ask for initial views on the key issues it should address. Four key areas were identified: Housing, Environment; Infrastructure and Economy, with Flooding added at a later date given its local significance.
Following extensive consultation and research, the Neighbourhood Plan team formulated draft policies covering these areas, which were presented to residents at an Open Day in December 2015. Ongoing updates were posted via the Neighbourhood Plan website and a questionnaire was sent to all residents. A statutory consultation ran from December 2016 for six weeks to enable residents to make further comments, and the Plan was approved by Shipston Town Council in October 2017. An independent examiner has since assessed the Plan and recommended it go forward to referendum, subject to some modifications which have been incorporated.
Shipston residents who are registered on the Electoral Role, will have received polling cards recently from Stratford District Council ahead of this important referendum.
Voters can choose to accept or reject the Neighbourhood Plan. If accepted, the Plan will become part of the formal planning process. This means that Stratford District Council, by law, must consider the policies in the Plan when reviewing new development applications in Shipston.
Mayor Ian Cooper said “This referendum is a unique opportunity for Shipston residents to have their say directly and to help shape the future development of Shipston. Whether you opt to accept or reject the Plan, I urge all residents to use their vote on the 6th September. Don’t miss this chance to influence the future of our community.”
To find out more about the policies proposed, download a copy of the Neighbourhood Plan via www.shipstontowncouncil.org and www.shipstonnp.org. Printed copies are available for inspection at New Clark House, West Street and Shipston Library.