Polls open next month for town's neighbourhood plan referendum

Needham Market High Street. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Needham Market High Street. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A market town is taking the next step forward with its emerging neighbourhood plan as the community is set to go to the polls next month. 

Residents of Needham Market have the opportunity to vote for or against the proposed Neighbourhood Plan, which will set a precedent for development in the town.

A referendum is set to be held at Needham Market Community Centre on Thursday, February 24.

A Neighbourhood Plan hands communities power to help create a shared vision for their area, through the development of a plan which once adopted, holds statutory weight to assist in decisions on planning applications.

This comes after Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils were selected as one of eleven areas nationwide to adopt the Neighbourhood Plan scheme as part of a pilot project led by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

A statement from Needham Market Town Council said: "The town council has been working on the Neighbourhood Plan for several years and it has evolved in conjunction with extensive community consultation.

"Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area.

"The Town Council is delighted to have progressed the Needham Market Neighbourhood Plan to the point where the community has the opportunity to adopt it.

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"If the referendum returns more than a 50% vote ‘yes’, then Mid Suffolk District Council will be legally obliged to ‘make’ (adopt) the Neighbourhood Plan as part of its Planning Framework.

"The Town Council is keen to see its community turn out on 24th February, engage in the voting process and support the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan.

"Relevant notices and documentation can be found on the Mid Suffolk District Council website from Monday 17th January and paper copies of the designated documentation are available to view at the Town Council Office and the Town Library, both of which are in School Street, Needham Market."

If the Neighbourhood Plan receives the go-ahead, Needham Market will join parishes like Debenham and Eye who have already established their own plans.

You can find out the current situation of your local Neighbourhood Plan here:

Mid Suffolk Neighbourhood Plans

Babergh Neighbourhood Plans