Lympstone Neighbourhood Plan: Why voting is important

PUBLISHED: 15:18 20 March 2015 | UPDATED: 15:40 20 March 2015


Polling day looms for village

Residents in the Lympstone parish will have the opportunity to vote on their Neighbourhood Plan on Thursday, March 26.

The referendum, at Lympstone Methodist Hall from 7am to 10pm, will be the culmination of three years of consultation, public meetings and voluntary work involving more than 100 villagers.

The poll will see residents asked by the Government whether they want East Devon District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan to help decide planning applications in the parish.

Driving forces behind the project say that the plan will give the community the power to influence where new houses are built in the parish and what they should look like.

They have also urged villagers to vote ‘yes’ if they want to ‘stop Lympstone becoming a suburb of Exmouth’ and to have a say on the protection of open spaces and footpaths.

The plan has already been endorsed by an independent examiner, who recommended it should proceed to a referendum.

Jenny Clark, chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group and a Lympstone parish councillor, said: “We are very excited about the forthcoming referendum, which will provide the parishioners of Lympstone with real choice as to the future of their village.

“The plan is the result of three years’ consultation, public events and voluntary work involving over 100 villagers.

“Although much of the discussion is based on its potential influence on planning decisions, it is important to note that the plan also includes policies on economy, open spaces, transport, community services and the environment.

“Having a plan in place will allow Lympstone to access funding and grants for community matters that would not be available otherwise.

“As is essential in a democratic society everyone has the freedom to express their opinion – intelligent debate is what allows communities to agree a way forward and the focus groups and public consultations undertaken as part of the plan have afforded a healthy and productive exchange of views.

“I’m sure the halls and pubs in the village will be buzzing with discussion and members of the working party are happy to discuss matters with anyone who contacts us - our names and details are on the village website and on the flyers that are being distributed to each home in the village. We have also left a message book in the village shop for those without internet.

“It is important that the plan is seen as a consensus view. Although the plan is proposed to be fixed until 2026, it will be reviewed twice-a-year at meetings open to all parishioners. As always, any parishioner is welcome to be involved in the working group.”

Members of the working group will be on hand to discuss the plan and answer questions during three sessions in the coming days.

Tomorrow (Saturday, March 21) they will be under the railway bridge from 9.30am to noon and at Churchill Court from 2.30pm to 4pm.

They will also be at Kings Garden Centre from 6pm to 7pm on Monday (March 23).

Mark Robertson, from the working party, added: “The plan contains important proposals for strengthening our community and helps to safeguard our village against the sort of large-scale housing developments that have recently threatened us and neighbouring settlements.

“It is one of the few defences we have against the current presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’ that puts all the land along the A376 between Exmouth and Exeter at potential risk.

“It is very important that there is a good turnout at the referendum to give real weight to the plan in the event of future planning inquiries.”

*The Neighbourhood Plan Working Group has asked the Journal to point out that its members will be on hand to discuss the plan at Churchill Court tomorrow, Saturday, March 21, and not on Sunday, as stated in the print version of the newspaper on March 19. We apologise for any confusion caused.

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