Notice of Referendum

NOTICE OF REFERENDUM

SOMERFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN AREA

Referendum on the adoption of the Somerford Neighbourhood Plan

  1. A referendum will be held on Thursday 15 February 2018 to decide the question below:

“Do you want Cheshire East Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Somerford to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

  1. Applications to be included on the register of electors for this referendum must be received no later than Tuesday 30 January 2018.
  1. Electors and their proxies should take note that:

Any changes to, or cancellations of, existing postal or proxy vote records, and new applications to be treated as postal voters, must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, either by hand at the Elections Office,  Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1EA, or by post at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, c/o Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2BJ by no later than 5.00pm on Wednesday 31 January 2018  if they are to be effective for this referendum.  You must allow sufficient time for posted applications to be received in the Elections Office by the deadline.

  1. All new applications for proxy voting arrangements must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, either by hand at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1EA, or by post at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, c/o Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2BJ by no later than 5.00pm on Wednesday 7 February 2018, if they are to be effective for this referendum. You must allow sufficient time for posted applications to be received in the Elections Office by the deadline.
  1. All applications to vote by emergency proxy at this election on the grounds of physical incapacity, or for work/service reasons, must reach the Electoral Registration Officer, either by hand at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1EA, or by post at the Elections Office, Macclesfield Town Hall, c/o Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2BJ by 5:00pm on Thursday 15 February 2018 if they are to be effective for this referendum.

You must allow sufficient time for posted applications to be received in the Elections Office by the deadline.  The physical incapacity must have occurred after 5pm on Wednesday 7 February 2018.  To apply on the grounds of work/service, the person must have become aware that they cannot go to the polling station in person after 5pm on Wednesday 7 February 2018.


Dated: 11 January 2018

Printed and Published by the COUNTING OFFICER,  WESTFIELDS, MIDDLEWICH ROAD, SANDBACH, CHESHIRE, CW11 1HZ

Explanatory Note – regarding our office address:

Delivery of applications to register to vote, to vote by post or by proxy – These forms can be hand delivered to the Electoral Registration Officer, Ground Floor, Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 1EA.  If you choose to post these forms the address to which to post them is the Electoral Registration Officer, Macclesfield Town Hall, c/o Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2BJ, but you must ensure that you allow sufficient time for posted applications to be received in the Elections Office by the relevant deadline for each type of application.


News Bulletin – January 2018

WE HAVE MADE IT TO THE END! NOW YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SAY

The Neighbourhood Plan has now reached its final stage and has been approved by the H M Planning Inspector Mary O’Rourke BA (Hons) Dip TP MRTPI

Our referendum date, which is the day you get to answer yes or no to the question:

Do you want Cheshire East Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Somerford to help it decide planning applications in the Neighbourhood Area*?”

is set as THURSDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2018 and voting will take place at Somerford Business Court from 7am to 10pm.

You will be sent a polling card (as per council elections) if you are registered as a resident of Somerford.  If you are not registered, your application to be included on the register, must be received by CEC by MIDNIGHT ON 30TH JANUARY, either online or by post, otherwise YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE.

After 3 years of trial and tribulation we finally have a Neighbourhood Plan to be proud of.  The Plan has undergone external examination and following some minor amendments was deemed to be ready to proceed to Referendum, where you, the residents of Somerford, get to have your say as to whether the plan is adopted into planning law or not.

On behalf of everyone who has worked on the Plan during the last 3 years, can I urge you all to ensure that

  1. You are eligible to vote
  2. You actually DO vote

We have spent literally hundreds of hours getting to this point and all we are asking of you is 5 minutes of your time to pop into the polling station and place your vote.

This Plan is the principal voice Somerford Parish Council has to influence future planning decisions and it has been created using concerns raised by you, in order to protect, in whatever small way we can, the integrity of the Parish.

The Referendum Version of the Plan can be viewed on our website: www.somerfordplan.co.uk under the tab marked Referendum.

Or on the CEC website:http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/planning/neighbourhood-plans/neighbourhood-plans-n-z/somerford-neighbourhood-plan.aspx

It can also be viewed on computer screens at:

  • Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
  • Delamere House, Delamere Street, Crewe, CW1 2JZ – Monday to Friday 8.45am to 5pm – except Tuesdays – 8.45am to 4pm
  • All Cheshire East libraries – for opening hours please contact the libraries directly

Paper copies of the specified documents are also available to view during normal office hours at:

  • Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ and shortly also at
  • Hoofers Cafe, within Somerford Park Farm, Holmes Chapel Road, Somerford, CW12 4SW
  • Julie Mason, Parish Clerk, 2 Field View Road, Congleton, CW12 4UG

If anyone has any questions prior to the referendum please do not hesitate to contact the Parish  Clerk who will forward your query to me and I will endeavour to reply as soon as possible.

Thank you to anyone who has participated in getting our Plan to this stage, either by helping on the committee, or filling in surveys, or attending events connected with the Plan.  It is all very much appreciated.


Sandy Kenyon, Chairman – Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee

*The Neighbourhood Area for Somerford is the whole Parish so the Plan policies would be used in any planning application submitted anywhere in Somerford


Information Statement

Somerford Neighbourhood Plan Referendum – Information Statement 

A Referendum relating to the adoption of the Somerford Neighbourhood Plan will be held on 15 February 2018. A copy of the Notice of Referendum is attached – which will be published on 11 January 2018.

The question which will be asked in the Referendum is:

“Do you want Cheshire East Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Somerford to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

The Referendum area is identified on the map which is included with this information statement.

The Referendum area is identical to the area which has been designated as the Somerford Neighbourhood area.

A person is entitled to vote in the Referendum if on 15 February 2018

  • he or she is entitled to vote in a local government election in the Referendum area: and
  • his or her qualifying address for the election is in the Referendum area. A person’s qualifying address is, in relation to a person registered in the register of electors, the address in respect of which he or she is entitled to be registered.

The Referendum expenses limit that will apply in relation to the Referendum is £2396.52.  The number of persons entitled to vote in the Referendum by reference to which that limit has been calculated is 585.

The Referendum will be conducted in accordance with procedures which are similar to those used at local government elections.

A copy of the specified documents, that is those documents listed below, may be inspected at:

http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/planning/neighbourhood-plans/neighbourhood-plans-n-z/somerford-neighbourhood-plan.aspx

They can also be viewed on computer screens at:

Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Delamere House, Delamere Street, Crewe, CW1 2JZ – Monday to Friday 8.45am to 5pm – except Tuesdays – 8.45am to 4pm

All Cheshire East libraries – for opening hours please contact the libraries directly

Paper copies of the specified documents are also available to view during normal office hours at:

Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ

The specified documents are:

  • The Somerford Neighbourhood Development Plan
  • Report of the independent examiner
  • Summary of the representations submitted to the independent examiner
  • Statement by the local planning authority that the draft plan meets the basic conditions and complies with the relevant legislation
  • A statement that sets out general information about town and country planning including neighbourhood planning and the referendum
  • This information statement.

Dated: Monday 8 January 2018

Kath O’Dwyer
Counting Officer
Cheshire East Borough Council
Westfields
Middlewich Road
Sandbach
CW11 1HZ


News Bulletin – November 2017

The Cheshire East consultation period, which should have been 6 weeks and ended on 8 September 2017, was extended at the request of the Independent Examiner, Mary O’Rourke, as she had concerns that CEC had not given sufficient notice to the public regarding the consultation deadline for comments. She originally requested they give a further 3 week extension, however, following a query from a resident, the Examiner later amended this to a repeat of the entire 6 week period, resulting in the last date for comments being extended to 24th November 2017.

This has eliminated any chance we had of holding our referendum this year and indeed it looks now as if there is nothing we can do to bring this forward from February 2018.

The Examiner agreed to commence her study of our plan during the consultation period so as not to cause any unnecessary delay and therefore we are hopeful that we will receive her report shortly after the deadline. Hulme Walfield and Somerford Booths have received their report and we will be studying this carefully as there are several similarities between their circumstances and ours, so it will be interesting to read the report as they have the same Examiner as Somerford.

I do not yet know if the examiner has done her site visit but I am assuming that she has. She did not wish to be accompanied at that visit.

If there is nothing in her report that means we have to make changes to the plan then the next stage is to ask CEC to schedule a referendum whereby residents of Somerford will be able to vote for or against the plan becoming accepted into planning law. If there is a majority ‘yes’ vote from those that turn out to vote then the plan will be made. It is important to stress that residents will only be eligible to vote at the referendum if they appear on the electoral register so I would urge any residents of Somerford who are not yet registered to ensure they do this as soon as possible.

We have no control over the date of the referendum as it is CEC who determine this. It is likely the location will be at Somerford Business Court, which is the polling station for other elections. As soon as we have the details of the where and when these will be extensively publicised to ensure we get the best turn out possible.

This is your Plan, which has been over 3 years in preparation but the end is now in sight. Your continued support would be very much appreciated.

Sandy Kenyon
Chairman – Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee


Examiner Extends Consultation

Examiner extends consultation further to offer a repeat of the 6 week process – 12/10/17 to 02/11/17 extended to 23/11/17


Dear Mr Evans and Ms Mason,

SOMERFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN EXAMINATION: FURTHER CONSULTATION EXTENSION

Further to my letter of 10 October, a query has been raised as to whether the 3 weeks additional consultation I have requested is compliant with Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended).

I have previously suggested that those who did not receive the timely electronic notification of the consultation exercise on the draft Plan should be afforded 3 weeks to submit their representations. However, this was subject to a caveat that should a representor be unable to meet this timeframe, I would provide an extension to the 3 week period.

In taking this approach, I sought to balance the need to ensure that any prejudice to a potential representor is remedied, whilst seeking not to incur any undue delay in the progression of the draft Plan.

Regrettably, given a query has already been raised about my preferred, pragmatic approach, I now consider it is necessary to mitigate further against the possibility of a legal challenge to this element of the Plan’s consultation process, should a representor be so minded. As such, I have now resolved to extend that initial 3 weeks consultation period by an additional 3 weeks (i.e. 6 weeks in total) and would be grateful if Cheshire East Council can communicate this to the relevant parties that rely on the authority’s electronic notifications.

In the interests of transparency, may I prevail upon you to ensure a copy of this is placed on the local authority’s and Parish Council’s websites.

Your sincerely,  Mary O’Rourke BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI, Examiner


Independent Examination of Somerford Neighbourhood Plan

Independent Examination of Somerford Neighbourhood Plan

EXAMINER: Mary O’Rourke BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI

Tom Evans, Neighbourhood Planning Manager, Cheshire East Council

Julie Mason, Clerk to Somerford Parish Council


Dear Mr Evans and Ms Mason

SOMERFORD NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN EXAMINATION

Following the submission of the Somerford Neighbourhood Plan for examination, I would like to clarify several initial procedural matters.  

  1. Examination Documentation

I can confirm that I am satisfied that I have received a complete submission of the draft Plan and accompanying documentation, including the Basic Conditions Statement, the Consultation Statement and the Regulation 16 representations (subject to the comments below), to enable me to undertake the examination.

Subject to my detailed assessment of the draft plan, I have not at this initial stage identified any very significant and obvious flaws in the plan itself that might lead me to advise that the examination should not proceed.

 However, in response to the Cheshire East email of 27 September and mindful of the requirements of Regulation 16(a) of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012, I do have serious concerns about the delay in the Council’s automatic notifications from its online consultation system.  This meant that those notified had only three days to respond before the consultation closed, and I consider that there was substantial prejudice as a result of this.  I appreciate that the consultation was publicised elsewhere but those who signed up for updates would not have been looking elsewhere for information as they reasonably would have expected to be directly notified of the Regulation 16 consultation on the Plan.  To remedy this prejudice, the Council should carry out a further period of consultation, indicating that I would be most grateful to receive any further comments within the next 3 weeks but if it was not possible to meet that deadline, to advise me at their earliest convenience as to when representations would be made.  It should be made clear in the re-notification that representations already made will be considered as part of the examination.

  1. Site Visit

I intend to undertake a site visit to the neighbourhood plan area during the week commencing 9 October 2017. This will assist in my assessment of the draft Plan, including the issues identified in the representations.

The site visit will be undertaken unaccompanied. It is very important that I am not approached to discuss any aspects of the Plan or the neighbourhood area, as this may be perceived to prejudice my independence and risk compromising the fairness of the examination process.

  1. Written Representations

At this stage, I consider the examination can be conducted solely by the written representations procedure, without the need for a hearing. However, I will reserve the option to convene a hearing should a matter(s) come to light where I consider that a hearing is necessary to ensure the adequate examination of an issue, or to ensure that a person has a fair chance to put a case.

  1. Further Clarification

I may have a number of questions seeking clarification on various matters, which I will wish to put to the Somerford Parish Council and/or Cheshire East Council. If this is necessary, I will set the questions out in a separate letter.

  1. Examination Timetable

As you will be aware, the intention is to examine the plan (including conduct of the site visit) with a view to providing a draft report (for ‘fact checking’) within 4-6 weeks of submission of the draft plan.  However, in view of my request for additional consultation to be carried out, the examination timetable will be extended. Please be assured that I will seek to mitigate any delay as far as is practicable. The IPe office team will seek to keep you updated on the anticipated delivery date of the draft report.

If you or the qualifying body have any process questions related to the conduct of the examination, which you would like me to address, please do not hesitate to contact the office team in the first instance.

In the interests of transparency, may I prevail upon you to ensure a copy of this is placed on the local authority’s and Parish Council’s websites.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Your sincerely, Mary O’Rourke, Examiner


News Bulletin – July 2017

Regulation 15 – Submitting the Plan

Following amendments resulting from Somerford Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 14 consultation stage, Somerford Parish Council’s proposed Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted to the local planning authority “Cheshire East”

http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/planning/neighbourhood_plans/somerford-neighbourhood-plan.aspx and the Regulation 16 consultation will take place from 25th July 2017 until 7pm on Friday 8th September 2017.

The local authority is responsible for publicising the plan that has been submitted to them and arranging for the independent examination and referendum to take place into that submitted plan.

The submission to the local planning authority must include the following:

  • Consultation Statement
  • Somerford proposed Neighbourhood Plan
  • Basic Conditions Statement

All these documents can be found on our website www.somerfordplan.co.uk under the Regulation 15 Section. There is also a link to this on the Parish Council website www.somerford.org

This truly is OUR PLAN – take part to make a difference – thank you for your ongoing support.

Sandy Kenyon – Somerford Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group – Chairman


News Bulletin – June 2017

Our consultation period for Regulation 14 finished at noon on 13th June. We have received 146 comments that have been considered with some still being examined by Cheshire Community Action who advise on which we need to action. Where no action is deemed necessary a reason will be given to support this. A full report of the comments will be available on the website in due course.
We are working through the changes that will be made and hopefully within the next couple of weeks we will have a revised plan to submit to Cheshire East Council, who will then begin their own 6 week consultation period.

Should any further comments be received during this period these will also be considered and where necessary changes will be made. The finalised plan will then be sent out for external examination. Assuming the examiner is happy with the plan there will then be a referendum organised by CEC, at which point you as residents get to vote as to whether you wish the plan to be formally adopted. If the examiner requires any further changes these will be implemented prior to the referendum.

We will keep you informed as we near the referendum stage and will do our best to update the website regularly. The Regulation 15 version of the plan which will be submitted to CEC will be uploaded to the website as soon as it is finalised.

This truly is OUR PLAN – take part to make a difference – thank you for your ongoing support.

Sandy Kenyon – Chairman


News Bulletin – February 2016

From Somerford Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Thank you to everyone who returned the housing survey before Christmas. We now have a report prepared by Cheshire Community Action which shows the results of the survey and this evidence is what will be used to shape our housing policies for the plan.

We have secured some additional technical help for a housing needs assessment and this will further strengthen our position in establishing these policies. This assessment will be carried out over the next 2-3 months by AECOM who are appointed by Locality to assist us in preparing our plan.

If you wish to read the survey results in full they are available here on the website. If not there is a short summary below:

5.0 SUMMARY
Ten respondents had members of their household needing their own accommodation, with one new household needing to move now, six within 1-5 years, and three in over five years time. Half of these new households would prefer to move within Somerford, and 70% require a property with one or two bedrooms. Seventy percent would like to buy on the open market, with eighty percent preferring a semi or a detached house. The main reason for needing to move is for independent accommodation, and the majority of those wanting a new home are single adults. Ninety percent of the households requiring new accommodation would like a property with a small garden. The majority have been resident in Somerford for five years. None are on the Cheshire Homechoice housing register.

This truly is OUR PLAN – take part to make a difference – thank you for your ongoing support.

Kind Regards, Sandy Kenyon, Somerford Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group – Chairman