Broughton Astley has made history after villagers voted ‘yes’ to its neighbourhood plan - becoming the first village in the East Midlands to achieve such a result.
A referendum held in the village yesterday (Thursday, January 16) saw local residents vote overwhelmingly in favour of the neighbourhood plan.
Communities can use a ‘neighbourhood development plan’ to choose where they want to build new homes, shops and offices, have a say on what those new buildings look like and grant planning permission for new buildings they want to see go ahead.
Thursday’s referendum, organised by Harborough District Council, asked villagers to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question: ‘Do you want Harborough District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Broughton Astley to help it decide planning applications in the Neighbourhood area?’
The results saw 2,451 people in the village vote ‘yes’ (89 per cent) with 292 voting against the plan (11 per cent). There were four rejected ballot papers.
The turnout was 38.3 per cent (including postal votes) with 2,747 people casting votes out of an electorate of 7,164 residents.
The result means planning applications in the village must be considered against the Broughton Astley neighbourhood development plan, as well as existing planning policy, such as District wide Core Strategy and the National Planning Policy Framework.
The main focus of the Broughton Astley neighbourhood plan was on allocating sites for development, but also achieving much required new infrastructure for the community in the form of a superstore, employment land, leisure centre and doctors’ surgery.
There were also important priorities for maintaining areas of separation and protecting the environment.
The result means that the wishes of those living in Broughton Astley will now be taken into account in planning decisions.
Cllr Phil King, planning portfolio holder for Harborough District Council, said: “I’d like to congratulate Broughton Astley which has made history with this ‘yes’ vote – the first of its kind in the East Midlands.
“I know a lot of hard work has gone into making this happen and this is a real opportunity to see ‘localism’ at work and for villagers to have a real say over the future of the village.”