Villagers defy conditions to turn out and give backing to new neighbourhood plan

Houghton and Wyton agrees neighbourhood plan

Houghton and Wyton agrees neighbourhood plan - Credit: Archant

Villagers in Houghton and Wyton have given a huge thumbs up in favour of a neighbourhood plan - despite Arctic conditions on polling day.

More than 600 voters turned out with 96 per cent backing the plan which will help guide development in the community.

The turnout of 43.6 per cent was double that for similar polls in Godmanchester and St Neots.

Now the plan will have to be formally “made” by Huntingdonshire District Council which could take place later this month and is expected to be a rubber-stamping exercise.

Helen Boothman, who chaired the group behind the plan, said: “Obviously we are delighted, especially with the turnout given the weather conditions last Thursday.

“I think the village has been working on a neighbourhood plan for six years and it is something they know about.”

Mrs Boothman said the plan had its roots in the Save Our Gap campaign in which villagers battled to prevent the community merging with St Ives through development.

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She said there had been a lot of support in the community, including residents putting their hands into their pockets to fund a successful court case against Huntingdonshire District Council over planning issues to do with the gap campaign.

“Once it is made it means that Huntingdonshire District Council and all the other planning bodies will have to take our neighbourhood plan into account,” she said.

“I think everyone agrees that it is better to have the plan in place. I think the neighbourhood plan is such that everyone who was approached about it thought it was important.”

Mrs Boothman said the plan helped set boundaries and anti-coalescence issues.

She said they knew development was going to happen in the village, including the Houghton Grange site where houses were planned.

The government-owned former scientific research establishment has been disused for many years and has been the subject of a number of redevelopment plans.

The Houghton and Wyton neighbourhood plan was the first to get under way locally but parts had to be considered by a second inspector which delayed the process.

A plan means the village will get a larger slice of the money developers pay towards community facilities.