A PUBLIC referendum should be held on the planned introduction of a new neighbourhood plan for Tattenhall, near Chester, according to an independent examiner.
Nigel McGurk has recommended a public referendum on the Tattenhall and District Neighbourhood Plan – the first neighbourhood plan to reach this stage in West Cheshire and only the fourth in the country.
Summing up his examination, Mr McGurk paid tribute to those in Tattenhall who worked to create a plan for a place ‘which is clearly very special to the people who live and work there’.
He stated: “The professionalism, hard work, commitment and passion of all involved has created a neighbourhood plan which, in my view, provides for a sustainable and successful future.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) executive members will decide on Wednesday, September 4 whether to accept his recommendations and proceed through referendum.
The referendum would have a similar form to an election and all those registered to vote within the neighbourhood area, would be given the opportunity to be involved in the referendum.
Villagers would be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If more than 50 per cent vote ‘yes’, then CWaC will be required to bring the neighbourhood plan into force when determining planning applications in the area.
Council leader and Tattenhall councillor Mike Jones said: “We are reaching a very important stage of the plan, which is the first for West Cheshire and one of the first in the country.
“It is amazing how ordinary members of the community have come together and created such a robust and quality document.
“Tattenhall is a village, as I have said recently, under siege from developer applications and the neighbourhood plan will provide a framework for sustainable development.
“The neighbourhood plan must be in line with the local plan and national planning policies.
“Crucially, it covers a time span of 20 years with a review every five years.”
The 30-page neighbourhood plan has taken two years to produce and stresses that future growth must create quality developments, contributing to the character of the village and provide benefits for the area.
It is also proposed that the heart of the village should be prioritised as a thriving centre for shops, services and community infrastructure.
A steering group including parish councillors, community volunteers, Cheshire Community Action and Rural Innovation created the neighbourhood plan with help from CWaC and consultants IBI Taylor Young.
Cllr Carol Weaver, who sits on Tattenhall and District Parish Council, said: “A tremendous amount of hard work has gone into this and we are proud of the enthusiasm of everyone who took part and would like to thank local people for their support.”
Should executive members back the referendum suggestion, CWaC must first publish a decision statement and the reasons for that decision.
CWaC would then make suggested modifications to the neighbourhood plan and publish a final version along with the information statement, setting out details of the referendum.
The referendum date has to be at least 28 clear working days after the information statement and documents relating to the plan are published. It is expected any referendum would be held in October.