Published: Thursday, 27th October 2016
Swanwick Neighbourhood Plan rejected by local residents, the first time a ‘no’ vote has been registered out of around 250 referendums on the new type of development plans…
A Derbyshire neighbourhood plan has been resoundingly rejected by villagers, the first time a referendum on the new breed of development plans has registered a ‘no’ vote.
Last week’s poll about the proposed Swanwick Neighbourhood Plan was first of around 250 to give the thumbs down to a plan.
On a turn-out of 26 per cent some 85.5 per cent voted against the plan while just 14.5 per cent voted in favour.
The examiner who considered the strategy recommended major changes to the plan which the local planning authority, Amber Valley Borough Council accepted.
The examiner argued that many of the policies set out in the plan were badly worded, confusing, undeliverable and not in conformity with the local plan.
In the run-up to the referendum the neighbourhood plan steering group campaigned for the plan to be rejected.
Both the Swanwick Parish Council and the steering group took the view that the plan as originally submitted had been so drastically changed that the modified plan, on which the referendum was held “no longer represented the aspirations of the Swanwick community”.
The parish council wrote to the borough council requesting the withdrawal of the modified plan but the local authority insisted this was not possible under the regulations.
Subsequently the parish council has made a formal complaint that it was not kept informed about when the referendum was going to be held.
The parish council has also complained of no consultation with it prior to the officer’s report to Cabinet in June this year when officers recommended that all the changes should be made to the plan. The parish council said “there was no opportunity presented to the parish council to-reconsider any aspect of the plan before the borough council decide to accept all the recommended modifications”.
In a statement the borough council said it “accepted the Neighbourhood Plan after changes, recommended by an independent examiner, were made. The majority of the changes were recommended to meet the basic conditions of a Neighbourhood Plan.
Because the parish council did not request that the Neighbourhood Plan be withdrawn before the Borough Council’s decision to accept it, we were legally-bound to proceed with organising a referendum.”