Neighbourhood plan given green light after referendum

The referendum saw the Neighbourhood Development Plan passed. Picture: Cheddar Parish Council

The referendum saw the Neighbourhood Development Plan passed. Picture: Cheddar Parish Council - Credit: Cheddar Parish Council

Five years of hard work have paid off after more than 1,000 people voted to support a village’s neighbourhood plan.

Cheddar Parish Council and Sedgemoor District Council hosted a referendum in the village last week asking people if they supported a plan which would present guidelines for future development in the valley.

More than 1,200 people turned out to vote with 1,146 of them voting in favour of the plans. It meant the council exceeded its desired 50 per cent of votes.

Neighbourhood plan steering group and Cheddar Parish Council chairman Paul Fineran said councillors and steering group members were ‘extremely pleased’ residents chose to have Sedgemoor adopt the plan.

He added: “It is a greatly appreciated vote of confidence in what has been a monumental project over the past five years.”

The next step will be for the district council to ‘make’ the plan by officially adopting it.

Cllr Fineran added: “Once ‘made’ the plan has legislative teeth with regard to planning decisions made for the Cheddar area.

Most Read

“The plus points gained from having a ‘made’ plan is policies which have been arrived at, following extensive consultation with residents, will be used to guide the district council when they are making planning decisions.

“This should mean applications will need to generally conform with the plan to be approved.”

The district council will have eight weeks to ‘make’ the plan.

The steering group will now focus on completing the Cheddar Design Guide which will become a guidance document dealing with the appearance, finish and style around Cheddar.

It will be relevant for buildings, street furnishings, lighting and benches.

Cllr Fineran said the process had ‘brought the community together’.

He added: “Thank you to the members of the community who gave up their time to attend the numerous consultation events, undertake both paper and online surveys and assist where they could, even delivering leaflets – right up to referendum day with kind offers of driving less-able residents to the polling station.

“It has helped to bring together residents and made some realise you can influence the way things happen in the place we live.”