Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan moving towards first Localism Act Referendum in the UK

Representatives of UCEP, the MP Rory Stewart and Eden District Council will be celebrating the Localism Referendum - next step for groundbreaking Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan at Swanson House Restaurant in Brough tomorrow, December 14 at 11.30am.

The Draft Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan (covering Brough Parish and 16 surrounding parishes in East Cumbria) is the first in the country to be successfully examined under the Localism Act.

Eden District Council has received the examiner’s report into the Draft Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan. The report recommends that, with some changes, the Draft Plan should proceed to a referendum asking whether it should be adopted as Formal Planning Policy for the area.

This means the Draft Plan has now achieved the distinction of being the first in the country to be recommended to go forward to a referendum.

Neighbourhood Planning is a new system of community led planning which allows residents to come together to produce their own development plan for their area. If adopted, the plan will be one of the key factors in assessing planning applications.

The Upper Eden draft plan has been produced by the Upper Eden Community Plan Group, which represents 17 Parish Councils across the Upper Eden area. Eden District Council subsequently appointed John Glester, a consultant with a wealth of planning experience to review whether the Draft Plan should proceed to referendum.

Once changes are made, the Council will publish the amended Draft Plan, the Examiner’s report and arrange for a neighbourhood referendum to be held on whether it is formally adopted. The referendum is likely to take place in March 2013 and will cover those living within the plan’s boundaries.

Malcolm Smith, Eden District Council’s Economy and Planning Portfolio Holder and Ward Member for Brough said: “We are very proud that Eden is at the forefront of putting localism into action. I hand it to the parishes of the Upper Eden who have seized the opportunity to produce planning policies that they feel suit their local circumstances. The next stage is the referendum, and I urge everyone in the area to participate.”

Nick Boles, the Minister for Planning at the Department of Communities and Local Government said: “I would like to congratulate Eden District Council and the Upper Eden Community on being the first place in the country to have a neighbourhood plan successfully examined under the Localism Act. This is a significant milestone and represents a momentous achievement for the district of Eden. I wish them the very best as they proceed and I look forward to visiting Upper Eden and to finding out more about their exciting plans in the New Year.”

The Examiner’s report and details of the referendum will be published as soon as possible. For more information about Eden District Council’s work with local communities visit www.eden.gov.uk