Voting took place yesterday in a referendum on whether local people approved of the Bishops Lydeard and Cothelstone Neighbourhood Plan. The votes were counted overnight and the plan was passed with an overwhelming majority of votes cast, as follows: –
Electorate: 2336, votes cast: 733, turnout: 31.38%.
YES votes: 583, 79.54%
NO votes: 132 18%
This makes us the first community in Somerset to pass their neighbourhood plan at referendum, quite an achievement.
The Committee responsible for preparing the plan are very pleased that it has been approved and that it will now proceed to adoption in a month or so. Once adopted, Taunton Deane Borough Council, the local planning authority will have to make planning decisions in accordance with the neighbourhood plan. As well as this additional control, the community will also benefit from an increased rate of returned Community Infrastructure Levy funding, with 25% of the levy being passed to the Parish Council rather than 15%, ensuring that as much of the funding generated by new development is spent in the community affected.
As the Chairman of the committee that produced the plan, I’d like to thank the Committee Members Paul Partington, Jane Warmington and Clive Martin and the Chairman of the Parish Council, Henry Davenport for all the work and time that they dedicated to the task. Thanks also to Ann Rhodes and her staff at TDBC for their support, thanks to the people of the two parishes who attended meetings, exhibitions and responded to surveys, which informed the process. But mostly, our gratitude must go to our Parish Clerk, Amy Shepherd, who guided us through the process, kept us on track and provided all the logistical support to get us to this point.
And thanks to everyone that voted.