St Neots Town Council is urging people to vote in the area’s first neighbourhood plan referendum and have a input in the future development of the town.

The St Neots Neighbourhood Plan sets out proposals for development, services and facilities and forms part of a Government strategy to ensure policy issues, such as transport and planning are determined by local communities.

The public referendum is the final stage for the neighbourhood plan, which was completed after months of consultative work with councillors, the business community and residents, and was endorsed by Huntingdonshire District Council in December.

St Neots Town Council chairman, James Corley, hopes people will take "full advantage" of the opportunity to take part in the referendum and vote to accept the plan as it will have a "huge influence on the future prosperity and vitality of St Neots".

"The previous town council worked very hard in preparing the Neighbourhood Plan," he said.

"The opinions and suggestions from St Neots residents were canvassed, noted and refined and the resulting document reflects the expectations and demands of local people in respect of how the town should be run and developed."

Those eligible to vote in the referendum on February 4 can also attend public events which are being organised in the run-up to the referendum to explain the importance of voting and publicise the details of the plans.

Copies of the neighbourhood plan can be downloaded from the town councils website, viewed at the library and town council Offices and information points have been set up on Thursdays (market day) around the town.

According to the Local Government Association, there is no minimum turnout figure requirement for the referendum, but of those who do vote, more than 50 per cent must vote 'yes' for the plan to be adopted and passed onto the statute book.

Cllr Corley added: "It is hoped that everyone takes full advantage the opportunity to determine the future development, services and facilities of St Neots. Acceptance of this vital plan will have a huge influence on the future prosperity and vitality of St Neots to the benefit of all. I sincerely hope that we can achieve a big turnout of voters and we return a massive 'yes' vote in favour of local democracy and control of our town."

The votes will be counted after the poll closes on February 4 at the The Eatons Community Centre in Eaton Socon and the result will be announced the following day.

INFO: Polling cards are being delivered, but everyone who is eligible to vote must be registered by January 19. e

If you are unable to vote in person on the day, it may be possible to apply for a postal or proxy vote. The deadline for applications to vote by post is 5pm on January 20. The deadline for applications to vote by proxy is 5pm on January 27.

More information at: www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/elections/upcoming-elections-and-results/.