RESIDENTS in Stratford are preparing to go to the polls to vote in a referendum on whether the town should have a neighbourhood plan.
The referendum will be held on Thursday November 29 when voters will be asked whether they want Stratford District Council to use the neighbourhood plan to help decide planning applications in the town.
Neighbourhood plans are a key component of the Government’s Localism Act, which aims to devolve greater powers to councils and communities.
If more than half of those voting support the plan, it will be adopted by the council and will become legally binding.
The town’s plan has been seven years in the making and aims to improve the quality of the town’s future development.
It will protect the town’s heritage and green spaces and help ensure infrastructure is in place before any development takes place.
Neighbourhood plan steering group chairman Mark Haselden said: “I am delighted that the neighbourhood plan is progressing to referendum. “Not only is it an opportunity to make sure money is spent on the town rather than elsewhere in the district, once adopted, the neighbourhood plan will be legally binding and will make people focus more on local issues, such as congestion, infrastructure and the type of housing needed, before new developments are approved.
“A lot of recent housing schemes have been developer-led which does not always result in the best solution.
“A neighbourhood plan is a powerful tool which councillors can use to challenge inappropriate development.”
And Stratford mayor John Bicknell has paid tribute to Mr Haselden and others who have played a part in preparing the plan.
Residents who want to learn more about the plan can read about it in a forthcoming newsletter from the town council entitled ‘Bridging the Gap’.
To vote in the referendum residents must be registered to vote in the local government elections and be 18 or over on the day of poll.
Those who want to check their eligibility should call electoral services on 01789 260208 no later than November 13.
Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm at Chaser Suite at Stratford Racecourse; Rosebird Community Hall in Shipston Road; Shottery Memorial Hall, Hathaway Lane; St Peter’s Mission, Manor Road; Stratford Baptist Church in Payton Street; The Avenue Sports and Social Club at Avenue Farm Industrial Estate; Bishopton Community Centre in Drayton Avenue; Stratford District Council’s Elizabeth House hq Church Street; The Ken Kennett Centre in Justins Avenue; and Tiddington Community Centre in Main Road.
* RESIDENTS in Harbury and Deppers Bridge will also be voting on their neighbourhood plan on Thursday October 29.
The polling station will be at Harbury village hall in South Parade and will be open from 7am to 10pm.