Town set to go to polls on neighbourhood plan

Godmanchester, The Causeway

Godmanchester, The Causeway - Credit: Archant

A new neighbourhood plan for Godmanchester would help the town retain its semi-rural character, mayor Cllr Sarah Conboy has said.

Residents go to the polls on December 7 to vote in a referendum on whether the plan should be given the go-ahead or not.

The plan, which has taken three years to draw up, will give the town more of a say in future development if it is supported in the poll and will also lead to a bigger share of community benefit money developers have to pay.

Town mayor, Councillor Sarah Conboy, said: “We have a plan which will really make a difference to our town.

“Our residents were keen to retain the small and close-knit community and have been worried that we had nothing to stop every piece of land being developed.”

Cllr Conboy said: “This plan gives the town a clear boundary and will reduce any potential additional development to no more than 59 houses at a time along that boundary.

“This means that any additional growth would be small in scale and allow us to ensure our community retains its village-like character.”

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Cllr Conboy added: “We have also sought to protect as much green space as possible and, if voted for, this plan will ensure that we keep our semi-rural character.”

If the neighbourhood plan gets the go-ahead it will be only the second in Cambridgeshire, following on from St Neots.

Polling cards have already gone out with a single question requiring a yes or no answer: “Do you want Huntingdonshire District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Godmanchester to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

Godmanchester Town Council is encouraging voters to register to vote so they can take part.

If the plan is supported in the vote it will be used as a base when the district council considers planning applications in the area.

The plan has already been vetted by an independent planning inspector who said it was legally compliant and also commended the community for its years of hard work in putting the document together.

The inspector also supported the idea of retaining a compact town which held on to its distinctive and historic character.