Ascot, Sunningdale and Sunninghill Neighbour Plan approved for public referendum

Published: 8 Feb 2014 17:300 comments

A BLUEPRINT setting out residents’ vision for future development in their community will go out to a public referendum.

The Ascot and Sunnings Neighbourhood Plan was backed by Royal Borough councillors on Wednesday night, accepting amendments made by an independent planning inspector.

It becomes the ninth neighbourhood plan in the country to proceed to a public referendum, and the first in the Royal Borough.

Windsor rural development control panel member, Cllr David Hilton, who also represents Ascot and Cheapside ward, said: “We are delighted with the fact that it has got this far.

“All those involved in the plan have put in a tremendous effort into compiling the plan and should be rightly proud.

“All the other neighbourhood plan groups across the borough are looking at it as a model.”

The Royal Borough hired independent inspector Nigel McGurk to inspect the plan and following a public hearing in December, he compiled a report.

The plan’s policies were inspected to see if they met the basic conditions of a neighbourhood plan – meaning it must have regard to national policies, must agree with other policies within the plan and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

Mr McGurk described the plan as a “substantial and exceptionally well-produced document” and that it had gone “well beyond the legislative requirements” of a plan.

Despite also commending it for its extensive consultation periods, he added some policies needed modifying before they met the basic conditions, while others were even recommended for deletion.

While approving plans to develop north of Ascot High Street, he recommended the deletion of policies concerning plans for homes south of High Street and shops, housing and commercial properties near Ascot Railway Station.

They were recommended for deletion as both areas are in the Green Belt, contradicting the plan’s policy of restricting development within the Green Belt.

The Royal Borough approved the plan with Mr McGurk’s recommendations.

Margaret Morgan, co-chairwoman of the plan’s steering group, added: “Acceptance of the neighbourhood plan to proceed to referendum is fantastic news. There has been huge local interest in the plan from the community with many contributing their views.”

A tentative date for the referendum has been set for Thursday, March 27, but this is yet to be confirmed.

If 50% or more of the public votes are in favour on the neighbourhood plan, it will be used by the Royal Borough to help determine planning applications and guide planning decisions in Ascot, Sunningdale and Sunninghill.

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