Neighbourhood plan overcomes 'no' campaign to secure public backing

The largest neighbourhood plan to have reached referendum so far was backed by local residents in a ballot held yesterday, despite an action group's campaign to secure a 'no' vote.

Winsford: neighbourhood plan referendum took place on 23 October 2014 (picture by Dr Duncan Pepper)
Winsford: neighbourhood plan referendum took place on 23 October 2014 (picture by Dr Duncan Pepper)

Residents of Winsford in Cheshire approved the Winsford Neighbourhood Plan by 2,620 votes (69 per cent) to 1,160 (31 per cent) on a turnout of 16 per cent, Cheshire West and Chester Council said in a statement this morning.

The town council's neighbourhood plan proposes allocating 3,362 homes and 35 hectares of employment land on 24 sites across the town up to 2030.

However, some of the housing sites on greenfield land have been opposed by residents, with the Save Rilshaw Action Group urging residents to vote "no" in the referendum.

Sue Rowlands, a director of consultancy Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, which helped prepare the plan, said: "Today’s result shows that neighbourhood plan making can work just as well on a large scale in urban locations as for smaller country parishes.
"This is the most ambitious neighbourhood plan so far and has brought with it a number of challenges. Not just engaging with harder to reach groups and those who don’t want to see any growth planned for, but demonstrating that when set up well this approach to planning can bring both quick wins and long term benefits to residents and businesses."'

The Winsford plan passed examination in August. In response to concerns over consultation, examiner Charles Mynors said he was "satisfied ... that the statutory requirements have been complied with".

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