Ascot & Sunnings Neighbourhood Plan to be voted on by public

Published: 23 Mar 2014 17:300 comments

RESIDENTS will cast their votes at a public referendum next week to decide whether to approve a blueprint setting out a vision for future development in their community.

The Ascot and Sunnings Neighbourhood Plan will go to a public referendum on Thursday, March 27.

If supported by 50% or more of those who vote, its policies will be used by the Royal Borough to help decide planning applications.

Councillors backed the plan last month, accepting amendments made by an independent planning inspector.

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

Margaret Morgan, co-chairwoman of the plan’s steering group, said it was an important day for residents in Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale.

She said: “It is a very important day and a big milestone for the community. People have choices but we hope they support the plan and its policies.

“The plan does not create development but also it does not prevent development either. The steering group has been the foot soldiers of the plan over the past few years and the plan is the result of what residents want and what they have told us.”

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

The plan’s proposals were inspected to see if they complied with national policies and contributed to sustainable development.

Mr McGurk supported plans to develop north of Ascot High Street but recommended the deletion of policies concerning plans for homes south of High Street and shops, housing and commercial properties near Ascot Railway Station.

Despite the plan gaining support from both Royal Borough councillors and parish councillors, some residents are still not convinced it is in their best interests.

Geraint Rhys, from King’s Ride, Ascot, said: “Ascot is unique in already having a green and leafy environment and to build hundreds of houses and shops on Green Belt land on the southern side of Ascot High Street, in Ascot Wood and Heatherwood Hospital would destroy this uniqueness and make Ascot look like any other town such as Slough or Bracknell.”

The polling stations will be open 7am-10pm next Thursday, with residents in the parishes of Sunninghill & Ascot and Sunningdale eligible to vote.

The stations are: All Saints’ Church hall in London Road, Ascot; Ascot Durning Library; Cheapside Village Hall; Sunningdale Village Hall; a mobile unit in Waitrose car park in Sunningdale; South Ascot Church Hall; and Ascot District Day Centre.

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