Government rules give local communities powers to create their own plans and policies, these 'neighbourhood plans' are prepared by town or parish councils, or neighbourhood forums and show the community wants land to be used and developed in the areas where they live and work.
After a neighbourhood plan has been checked by an independent examiner, members of the community can vote on whether it comes into force and will be used by us as the 'local planning authority' when we consider planning permission.
- Find out about recent referendums for neighbourhood planning (see notices and results)
- See current neighbourhood plans online (or contact your parish council for more information)
- See the Government's Planning Policy Guidance on preparing a Neighbourhood Plan - this guidance has been updated to include amendments to referendums, submission, examination and consultation to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Vote in a neighbourhood planning referendum
If you're registered to vote in local elections you'll be entitled to vote in a referendum for neighbourhood planning.
Vote in person
You can only vote in person at your designated 'polling station' on polling day, during opening hours - a polling card will be delivered to you prior to the election date letting you know:
- your designated polling station
- the times you can attend to vote (normally between 7.00am and 10.00pm, unless the poll card states otherwise)
When you arrive at your designated polling station you'll be given ballot paper with a question and an option to mark your vote against 'yes' or 'no'. Take your ballot paper into a (private) polling booth and read it carefully - it will tell you how to 'mark your ballot paper' correctly.
Polling staff are unable to provide information or guidance about neighbourhood plans.
Other ways to vote
While most people choose to vote in person, you can apply in advance to vote by post (11 working days before the referendum) or vote by proxy (6 working days before the referendum) if you're unable to go to your designated polling station in person on polling day.
Results of a neighbourhood planning referendum
The votes in a neighbourhood planning referendum are counted immediately after the poll closes (the count is not public, but our 'Returning Officer' may appoint observers):
- if more than 50% of votes support the plan it will be brought it into force by is (as the 'local planning authority' as part of planning permission)
- result for recent referendums for neighbourhood planning are published online
- parish councils publish result the following day