The results of yesterday’s referendum were announced just before midnight, with a resounding vote in favour of adopting the Neighbourhood Plan. Of the 2651 votes cast, 2510 (94.68%) supported the Plan which will now become the first level of regulation in Planning matters in the town, including seeing enhanced protection of many of our green spaces, retention of commercial space and promotion of community facilities, rights of way and better pedestrian and cycling safety.
Leader of the Council Dom Newton said:
“The overwhelming vote in favour of the Plan is a validation of the hard work that’s been undertaken over the last five years by the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, past and current councillors, the Town Council staff and all those who contributed to the various stages of consultation that have taken place. It is also another firm indication of the desire for unity and common purpose in the town. This vote saw groups from across the political spectrum, and all parts of our community working together for the first time, in what we hope will be a model for future decisions.
“The unity of the Town on this question will also place us in a strong position in working with Wiltshire Council to defend against the potential judicial review of the decision by Wiltshire Council to hold the referendum—the votes sends a very clear message of the Town’s democratic will.
“The adoption of the Plan is also a beginning—it sets a tone for future decisions, and also allows us to start working now on what comes next, both in terms of planning, development and protection of our built space, and provision of affordable housing in the town, and in terms of other key decisions on highways, the environment, youth services and community spaces and facilities. Over the coming months we, as Councillors, will need the help of the town in shaping a vision for the next decade.
“But for now, thank you once again on behalf of my fellow Councillors to all those who have been involved, and to all those who turned out yesterday”.