Once a Neighbourhood Plan has been independently examined it comes back to the parish for to be voted on in a referendum.
The referendum process is managed by the local electoral office which in, in our case is South Hams District Council. The Council will inform the community of the local polling arrangements. There will be a few weeks for you to review the Plan in advance of the vote.
The version of the Neighbourhood Plan you will be asked to vote on will be displayed on the South Hams’ website, but we also will show a copy here.
Hard copies of the Neighbourhood Plan will be held at the Woolwell Centre and at the Roborough Recreation Hall for those who prefer to inspect a paper document rather than peruse it on-line. Please do not remove them.
See Step 11 onwards of the NP Process Timetable for details of the process and confirmation that the LPA leads.
See this document for Planning regulations, and this Planning Guidance Note 33 on Referendums.
Here is the advice from the Government on Parish Council involvement:
The Neighbourhood Planning (Referendum) Regulations 2012 (as amended) cover all aspects of organising and conducting the referendum, including campaigning. Responsibility for organising the referendum rests with the “relevant council” (in our case, the district council). The relevant council has a duty to make general information on town and country planning, including neighbourhood planning, and the referendum available to voters. The objective is to help ensure that voters have sufficient knowledge to make an informed decision should they choose to vote. But the relevant council is prohibited from publishing promotional material by or on behalf of the “relevant council” during the referendum period.
The Parish Council is not the “relevant council”, that is South Hams DC. However, the Parish Council needs to have regard to The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity. The Code provides that publicity by a local authority should, among other things, be objective and even-handed and that in general, authorities should not issue any publicity which seeks to influence voters.
The neighbourhood planning referendum will be conducted in accordance with procedures similar to those used at local government elections. Should individuals or groups within the community wish to campaign for a particular outcome in a referendum, they need to have regard to the general restrictions on referendum expenses, and ensure that any publicity material is correctly attributed. For example there are requirements for the details of name and address of the printer and promoter to appear on any campaign material. It is the responsibility of the campaign group to ensure that their activities comply with general legal requirements, (e.g. avoid fly posting, do not issue defamatory material and conduct the campaign without offending against public order). The local authority’s electoral services team should be able to explain the campaign expenditure limits for a particular referendum and the rules that apply.
The Parish Council can help publicise the up-coming referendum and it can encourage eligible parishioners to vote.
To ensure it’s not accused of ignoring or abusing the code of practice or spending Parish Council money that it should not, if the Parish Council or the Steering Group thinks a ‘yes campaign’ rather than just a ‘get out and vote campaign’ should be mounted, it is best lead by a campaign group that is distinct from the Parish Council.
Here is the flyer that went round the Parish – its main message is neutral but an agreed Neighbourhood Plan is legally effective and has to be taken into account by the Councils when development requests come in to them.
Please note that a Plan is accepted if a simple majority of those voting in the referendum, 51%, and over, say Yes to the Plan. Please Vote.