The residents of Gillingham have overwhelmingly backed the town’s Neighbourhood Plan.
The ‘Yes’ vote by 90 percent of local people in the referendum on Thursday 12 July means the document can now play an important part in local planning and development decisions.
Mayor of Gillingham, Councillor Su Hunt said after announcing the result: ‘It has taken six years to reach this stage and a lot of hard work has been put in by some dedicated volunteers on behalf of our community. I would like to thank all members of the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan Group for their commitment and everyone else involved for their contributions and support. I am delighted that the town has supported the Neighbourhood Plan by such a strong majority.’
Neighbourhood Plans give local people the power to shape the area where they live or work. If the majority of those who vote in a referendum are in favour of the plan, then the local planning authority must adopt the plan within eight weeks of the referendum. It then forms part of the statutory development plan for the area. This means it will need to be taken into account when considering planning applications in the Gillingham neighbourhood area.
Following the majority ‘yes’ vote at the referendum, the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan will go before North Dorset District Council on 27th July 2018 to agree the results of the referendum and agree to ‘make’ the plan part of the statutory development plan.
Mr David Beaton, Chairman of the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan Group said: ‘We are really pleased with the result, which ensures that the views of the people of Gillingham and Milton-on-Stour about the future of their town and village will be taken into account when decisions are being made about planning applications in this parish.
‘I’d like to put on record my thanks to the members of the Neighbourhood Plan Group for the hard work they have unstintingly put in and for the commitment that they have consistently shown over the six years it has taken to prepare the plan. I am looking forward to seeing it play a part in shaping the future of the harmonious and community-minded neighbourhood area of Gillingham.’
The question which was asked at the referendum was: ‘Do you want North Dorset District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for the parish of Gillingham to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’.
The number of votes cast was 2,120, representing an overall turnout of 23%.
The votes were:
Yes 1,919 (90.5%)
No 201 (9.5%)