Village to hold referendum to adopt neighbourhood plan
PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 July 2018
After five years of hard work, surveys, open days and plans, a Somerset village will finally hold a referendum in the hope of adopting its neighbourhood plan.
Cheddar Neighbourhood Planning Group will host the vote at Cheddar Baptist Chapel on August 30 to decide whether the village wants to adopt the plan which could change the way planning applications are decided on.
Dedicated volunteers have spent long hours making the draft plan since 2013 and submitted it to an independent planning inspector.
Speaking on behalf of the group, parish councillor Paul Fineran said the project had been a ‘massive undertaking’.
He added: “The inspector commented it was a well-written and well-covered report and it is so pleasing because a lot of plans have major changes made to them at this stage.
“Sedgemoor District Council has also made no significant changes which is a very pleasant surprise.”
If adopted, the plan will help the people of Cheddar have more of a say on future development, with almost 500 houses planned across six outstanding applications.
One major aspect of the neighbourhood plan is it will see the community infrastructure levy – which is applied to all developers when housing applications are submitted – force developers to pay 25 per cent to the parish which will allow the council to ‘tackle significant improvement projects around the village’. The parish previously received 15 per cent in grants.
The neighbourhood plan has allowed for 200-300 homes to be built up to 2027, which contradicts the district council’s planned 612 houses in its emerging local plan for the whole area.
Independent inspector Timothy Jones said: “I commend the draft plan for being well written, logical, clear, appropriately concise and intelligible to a reasonably intelligent lay reader with no expertise in town and country planning.”
Electors will be able to vote at the chapel, in Lower North Street, from 7.30am-10pm on August 30.
In order for the Cheddar Neighbourhood Plan to be passed, more than 50 per cent of the voters must vote in favour.
To see the plans in full, visit the website.