Planning referendum for Newport, Quendon and Rickling residents after “record” progress leads to unanimous approval

R4U Cllr Neil Hargreaves, chair of the NQRNP

R4U Cllr Neil Hargreaves, chair of the NQRNP - Credit: Archant

Residents will be able to vote in a referendum on the Newport, Quendon and Rickling Neighbourhood Plan, Uttlesford district councillors decided.

The referendum will be held in May 2021 because of pandemic delays, when by-elections for a district councillor vacancy for Newport are also scheduled.

The Plan will carry weight in planning decisions with immediate effect, and will allow residents to have a say in developments over the next decades.

R4U Councillor Neil Hargreaves, chair of the NQRNP, said referendums have a very high approval rate, and that Neighbourhood Plans have never been rejected in referendums - so he is confident implementing it immediately is the right decision.

During a UDC cabinet meeting, R4U Cllr John Evans called the progress made a “record” among Neighbourhood Plans, because work on this Plan started in 2017.

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He said: “We in Stebbing started in 2016, Stansted in 2015, and there are some communities which have only just started.”

He added: “It is a worthwhile thing to have in place. A Neighbourhood Plan once made does form part of the development plan for the district - it slots in below the Local Plan.

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“Any Neighborhood Plan made now does have to conform with the 2005 Local Plan. There are visible planning benefits once these Neighbourhood Plans are put into place.”

The NQRNP website says the “out of date” Local Plan has led to several ‘unsuitable’ planning applications for houses.

Cllr Hargreaves said the group has adapted policy wordings from the withdrawn Local Plan for the Neighbourhood Plan.

“We’ve got ones for business protection, protection of sports facilities, things on afforable housing that we’ve taken from it, and in particular some really good stuff on landscape views.”

One policy aims to protect open views to historic buildings and landmarks such as St Mary’s Church in Newport and All Saints in Rickling.

The Plan is the work of a team of residents, and district and parish councillors, assisted by consultants and UDC officers.

Team member Brandon Chapman, former chair of Quendon and Rickling parish council, said: “The intention of the Plan is to build on what is good in our villages and to lay down a foundation to ensure that we meet the future needs of the community”.

There are several recommendations, including on air quality, infrastructure provision, heritage protection, and parking.

The Plan is on

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