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Upper Eden becomes country's first adopted neighbourhood plan

Residents in the Upper Eden area in Cumbria yesterday voted to approve the Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan as the first of its kind in the country to gain approval.08 Mar 2013

The plan was approved by over 90% of the voters, with 1,310 votes in favour and 138 votes against.

The plan has been worked up by the Upper Eden Community Plan Group, which represents 17 Parish Councils across the Upper Eden area, and includes policies on encouraging limited new development to help local people meet their own housing needs, as well as policies on housing on farms, housing for older people and broadband connections.

“A yes vote in the first neighbourhood development plan (NDP) referendum will be seen by many as an endorsement of the neighbourhood planning agenda generally," said Jamie Lockerbie, planning law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com 

"The comprehensive national media coverage of the referendum will surely spur momentum and popularity in neighbourhood planning and this will no doubt be compounded by the proposed amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations 2010, which specify that in areas of England that have a NDP in place, 25% of the CIL receipts generated by chargeable development in that area must be passed to the parish council,” Lockerbie said.

"I am delighted that the residents of Upper Eden have decided by a significant majority to endorse the Upper Eden Community Plan," said Council leader Gordon Nicolson according to local reports.  

"I do hope that local people will now submit planning applications and we look forward to dealing with them. That is how the communities will benefit as the housing they want will be built in places they want to live,” Nicolson said.

“This is an historic day for localism," said Planning Minister Nick Boles in a statement. "The people of Eden have started a quiet revolution which we want to see spreading right across the country. They have had a direct say in setting out their vision for how their area should develop and deciding how they want to meet local challenges," he said.

“Neighbourhood planning is an incredibly important new right and one that provides a real opportunity for people to bring about the homes, shops and facilities they want to see to make their community thrive,” Boles said.

“We’re very pleased with the vote," said Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan group chairman Tom Woof. "Our turnout target was the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) vote which here was higher than the national average at nearly 19%. We have beaten that by 15%."

"The result is fantastic; 1,310 yes votes means that we not only have the simple majority required but also a ringing endorsement,” Woof said.

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