Thame’s neighbourhood plan given thumbs up by inspector

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Thame has got the green light to hold a referendum on its neighbourhood plan.

The latest historic stage in the plan’s progress comes after independent examiner Nigel McGurk’s hearing and report, in which he said it ‘sets out a clear and deliverable vision for the neighbourhood area’.

A referendum will now be held on May 2, giving people the chance to decide whether or not the plan should be adopted. The plan sets out how 775 new homes would be built in Thame over the next 15 years.

The Mayor of Thame, Councillor Nigel Champken-Woods, said the town council was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the outcome of Mr McGurk’s report.

Mr Champken-Woods said: “We have worked extremely hard with the people of Thame to ensure the plan is sound as confirmed by the examiner and will benefit the town.”

If the district council accepts the examiner’s recommendations, every registered voter within the parish of Thame will be asked: “Do you want South Oxfordshire District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Thame to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

Thame would be one of the first places in Britain to hold a neighbourhood plan referendum. The point of the plan is to give people more of a say in planning.

Councillor Angie Paterson, cabinet member for planning at the district council, said: “We join the examiner in congratulating Thame Town Council on this huge achievement. To be among the first in the country to reach this stage is an impressive feat.

“They’ve done a magnificent job and we would very much like to see this plan agreed and adopted.”

You can read the report on the district council’s website.