West Byfleet Neighbourhood Plan referendum announced
06 September 2017
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A referendum to determine the West Byfleet Neighbourhood Plan will be held on Thursday 5 October 2017.
Residents who reside within the designated ‘West Byfleet Neighbourhood Area’ will be asked: “Do you want Woking Borough Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for the West Byfleet Neighbourhood Area to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”
The referendum will be conducted in accordance with procedures similar to those used during local government elections. Poll cards will be delivered to all eligible electors within the West Byfleet Neighbourhood Area who are on the Electoral Register and will include full details of the referendum and local polling station.
Speaking about the referendum, Woking Borough Council’s Counting Officer, Ray Morgan, said: “The West Byfleet Neighbourhood Plan referendum could see the local community help shape future planning decisions by contributing to the debate on how land within a defined area is used and developed in the future. I would therefore encourage residents who reside within the designated West Byfleet Neighbourhood Area to have their say during this local referendum.”
If more than half of those voting vote in favour for the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan, Woking Borough Council will make it part of its statutory development plan for the area and used when determining planning applications within the Neighbourhood Area.
Neighbourhood planning was introduced under the Localism Act 2011. It aims to help local communities play an active role in how land within a designated Neighbourhood Area is used and developed.
Neighbourhood plans must meet ‘Basic Conditions’ by having regard for national planning policy, contributing to the achievement of sustainable development and be in general conformity with local strategic policies and EU obligations, and human rights requirements. Plans should not promote less development than set out in the Local Plan or undermine its strategic policies.
The West Byfleet Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to Woking Borough Council by the West Byfleet Neighbourhood Forum. Following an extensive programme of consultation with statutory bodies, local residents, businesses, and other interested parties, the Plan was then submitted to an Independent Examiner for examination. The Council’s elected members then considered the Examiner’s Report on 20 July 2017 and resolved to proceed with the referendum.
Key reference documents
To assist residents, key reference documents, known as ‘specified documents’, are available to view online by visiting www.woking.gov.uk/westbyfleetneighbourhoodplan. Alternatively, they can be inspected in person at the Council’s Civic Offices and at Woking Library.
People who are unsure of whether they are on the Electoral Register, should call Woking Borough Council’s Elections Team on 01483 755855. Anyone who is not currently on the register should visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and complete the online registration form. To do so, residents will need their National Insurance Number and their date of birth. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday 19 September 2017, but please do so as early as possible.
Residents unsure of their National Insurance Number should contact the Council’s Elections Team.
Postal and proxy voting
People who are eligible to vote, but who are unable to get to a polling station on Thursday 5 October, can arrange to have either a postal vote or proxy vote. A proxy vote is where someone else is able to vote on behalf of an individual.
Applications for new postal votes, and applications to make amendments to existing postal vote arrangements, should be completed as soon as possible and no later than 5pm, Wednesday 20 September 2017.
The deadline to nominate a proxy is 5pm, Wednesday 27 September 2017.