Referendum date set for Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan

The seven key themes in the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan

The seven key themes in the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan - Credit: Archant

A referendum to decide whether to adopt a neighbourhood plan which will help shape the Sid Valley for the next 20 years will take place in September.

Residents across the area are being called upon to take part in the referendum on Thursday, September 19.

Sidmouth has the second largest population in East Devon, with just under 14,500 residents, representing ten per cent of the total district population.

If more than half of the electors vote in favour of the plan, it will become part of the statutory development plan for East Devon.

It is hoped there will be at least a 25 per cent turnout to vote on the document which covers a variety of topics including the natural and built environment, the economy and employment, housing, transport, and community facilities.

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The neighbourhood plan, has been three years in the making, is a planning policy document that will be used by East Devon District Council when it considers planning applications.

It cannot be used to stop growth but it can direct and shape development. Neighbourhood plans cannot propose lower levels of growth than that in the Local Plan. A neighbourhood plan can identify community priorities - eg cycle paths, promoting transport needs, protect heritage sites etc.

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What is a neighbourhood plan?

· A community-led planning document that will influence development in your area over two decades.

· It gives the community a voice in decision making.

· Once adopted, the policies become part of the development plan (holding legal weight in decisions).

· The Local Plan covers the district, a neighbourhood plan covers a specific neighbourhood.

· 25 per cent of the Community Infrastructure Levy money for adopted plans will be given to the town council to spend locally.

Deirdre Hounsom, chair of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group says. "The neighbourhood planning process has taken three years. The final stage requires a vote in a referendum to make the plan legal. The question on the voting paper is: Do you want East Devon District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for the Sid Valley to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?"

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