Have your say on Earls Barton plan

Earls Barton has produced its neighbourhood plan
Earls Barton has produced its neighbourhood plan

People have until the end of this month to have their say on a proposed village development plan.

The Earls Barton neighbourhood plan was submitted to the council at the end of June.

Following a legal check that made sure it complies with relevant legislation, it’s now available for comment until the end of August.

Neighbourhood plans were introduced under the Localism Act as a new way to help local communities influence the planning of the area they live and work in.

If a plan is prepared and agreed by the community it becomes part of the development plan for the neighbourhood and is used in the determination of planning applications.

The Earls Barton plan sets out a framework for the future of the village, including new housing, local employment, transport, leisure, health and education facilities, and the protection of historically important buildings.

Cllr Robert Gough, ward councillor for Earls Barton and chairman of the neighbourhood plan project group, said: “This plan is the result of a lot of hard work by the people of Earls Barton to give local residents a real say in planning matters that affect them.

“We’ve identified future housing needs to ensure we support the growth of the village in a way that makes sure that important services and infrastructure are not overstretched.

“It guides how development should be delivered according to the wishes of the community.

“It’s been a long and very thorough process, supported by the parish council and involving the people that live and work in the village.

“By submitting the plan we’re nearing the end of this process.

“What we need to do now is make sure that everyone who is affected by the plan is aware of it and has the opportunity to comment.”

Once the publicity period has finished at the end of the month, the plan will go to an independent examination.

If it passes the examination, a referendum will be organised to give the community the final say.

People living in the village who are registered to vote in local elections would be able to vote in the referendum, and if more than 50 per cent of those voting support the plan then it will come into force.

Once a neighbourhood plan is in force, it carries real legal weight.

Decision-makers will be obliged, by law, to take what it says into account when they consider proposals for development in the neighbourhood.

Anyone wanting to comment on the Earls Barton neighbourhood plan can visit www.wellingborough.gov.uk or call 01933 231926.

The deadline is midday on August 29 and no late representations will be accepted.