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Referendum FAQ

What is the referendum?
If you are a local resident and your name appears on the electoral register, you will have recently received a poll card for a referendum on the ‘Neighbourhood Plan for Barwick in Elmet & Scholes’. This page sets out to explain what the Plan is and your voting options.

When is the referendum?

The referendum takes place on Thursday 12th October 2017.

Who is entitled to vote?
The referendum is only open to those residing within the Parish of Barwick in Elmet and Scholes who are registered on the electoral roll. Further information on voting can be found on the Leeds City Council website:-
http://www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Register-to-vote.aspx

What is the Neighbourhood Plan?
The Neighbourhood Plan is a statutory planning document that sets out out planning policies and aspirations for the neighbourhood area.

Why do we need a Plan?
The need for a Neighbourhood Plan arose from  the Localism Act of 2011, the aim of which is:-
“To facilitate the devolution of decision-making powers from central government control to individuals and communities”.
The act gives people living and working in the local community a greater say in planning matters: -
"Neighbourhood planning will allow communities, both residents, employees and business, to come together through a local parish council or neighbourhood forum and say where they think new houses, businesses and shops should go and what they should look like.”

Where can I view the Plan?
It would cost thousands of pounds to supply a printed copy of the Plan to every local household so the Parish Council is making it available in three ways:-

1. On this website.
Click on the View the Plan page.

2. At Scholes Library.
Several hard copies are available for viewing at Scholes Library. Appointments are not necessary, however it may be worth calling in advance to ensure availability. Tel. 0113 378 3121.

3. Loan copies.
You can request a loan hard copy of the Plan (available for 48 hours) by contacting the clerk to the Parish Council:-
Keith Langley
0113 393 5861
clerkLS154@btinternet.com

Whose views does the Plan represent?
The Plan represents the views of people from across Barwick in Elmet, Scholes and Potterton. It takes into account feedback from local interest groups, numerous local meetings and public consultations, as well as written correspondence with a steering group and the Parish Council.

Who has prepared the Plan?
The Plan has been written by a steering group of local resident volunteers, working closely with the Parish Council, Leeds City Council and a locally based Planning Consultant.

What does the Plan include?
• Landscape and the environment
• The built environment
• Housing
• The economy
• Community facilities

What is the vision set out in the Plan?
“The Vision is for Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Neighbourhood Area to maintain its essential character as a rural community; within easy reach of the city environs, yet separate and distinct at the same time. In maintaining this identity, we wish to ensure that our citizens are given opportunities to contribute to the vitality of the community; opportunities to work and learn in the community; opportunities to live healthy and satisfying lives in the community".

Will the Plan stop future development?
In a word ‘no’. The Parish Council may be able to influence planning decisions but what gets developed (and where) is the responsibility of Leeds City Council (under guidance from the Government as part of National Planning policy).

So why is the Plan important?
The Plan seeks to improve the Neighbourhood area and the opportunities for everyone. It is resolute in its intention to see the villages improve for the better.The Plan will influence what is developed and what this will look like. Once approved, the Plan will become a legally binding statutory planning document, which will have to be considered whenever a planning application is submitted in the Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Neighbourhood AreaThe plan does not promote or endorse development.

What are my voting options?
In the referendum you will be asked whether you agree to adopting the plan. You can vote ‘Yes’ (you wish for the plan to be adopted) or ‘No’ (you do not wish for the plan to be adopted). 

What does voting ‘yes’ mean?

Voting ‘Yes’ means you agree to the planning policies laid out in the Plan, and that you are happy for these to become legally binding in a statutory planning document. Voting ‘Yes’ does not mean you support any or all future development, but that you seek to ensure that any development is subject to the policies contained in the Plan. Embedding the views of the community gives these significant influence and weight within the planning process.  

What does voting ‘no’ mean?
Voting ‘No’ would mean that planning decisions are not subject to the policies within the Plan. This would give the views of the community significantly less influence and weight within the planning process.

How are the votes counted?
The votes will be counted on the basis of a simple majority (there is no minimum turnout). For example If just three people voted, two voting 'yes' and one voting 'no' then the 'yes' vote will be carried and the Plan will be adopted.

How do I make a decision to vote?
The following may help you in making a decision on how to vote:-

• The plan does not promote or endorse development.
• The Plan has been written by local residents all of whom are volunteers.
• The process of writing and consulting on the Plan has taken several years to complete.
• The Plan incorporates feedback from public meetings, surveys and consultations (available in the Archive section).
• The Plan is not sponsored, endorsed or funded by any private companies or individuals (e.g. developers or land owners).
• The Plan has been received by Leeds City Council who have accepted it is ready for a referendum.
• The Plan has been approved by the Parish Council.
• The Plan has been reviewed by a qualified impartial Independent Planning Inspector.
 All of the recommendations of the Planning Inspector have been incorporated in the latest edition of the Plan.

Where can I obtain further information?
Two 'drop-in' sessions will be held (one in Barwick and one in Scholes). These offer the ideal opportunity to view the plan in detail and put any questions to the volunteers that helped to write the Plan. Details of these events can be found on the Referendum page. You may also contact the Clerk to the Parish Council:-

Keith Langley
0113 393 5861
clerkLS154@btinternet.com

What should I do next?
Please take a few minutes to read the Plan. If you are short on time, you may wish to read the Executive Summary and jump straight to the Policies
 in the Plan (highlighted in green boxes). It's then a simple case of casting your vote on Thursday 12th October!