Thame votes overwhelmingly in favour of adopting Neighbourhood Plan

A clip from the 'Say Yes For Thame' campaign video
A clip from the 'Say Yes For Thame' campaign video

More than 76% of voters were in favour of South Oxfordshire adopting the Neighbourhood Plan for the town for future planning decisions after Thursday’s referendum.

A total of 3,655 votes were cast in the Thame referendum on May 2 with 2,779 (76.033%) voting in the ‘Yes’ camp.

The question being put to voters was ‘Do you want South Oxfordshire District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Thame to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’

In a statement this morning (Friday), Thame Town Council said it is ‘delighted that the community has endorsed all the hard work that was needed to achieve the milestone and looks forward to implementing the policies set out in the plan for the good of the community’.

Mayor, Nigel Champken-Woods, said: “This is an excellent result and the networks and relationships formed throughout this process will go from strength to strength and the community spirit, which is a significant part of what Thame is, will continue in abundance as the plan is implemented.”

The Thame Neighbourhood Plan was first initiated just under two years ago and community consultation and engagement has been at the heart of its development process.

Thame has made history by being the first Neighbourhood Plan to allocate sites for development, and is therefore unique. The key innovation was making sure that the Plan reflected local people’s views and aspirations and to encourage the people of Thame to take control over the future of their town. Debate and opinion has been fervent in the build-up to the referendum, nowhere more so than in The Thame Gazette Letters pages which has been a hotbed for the topic for a number of months.

Meanwhile, South Oxfordshire District Council has reiterated the town council’s delight at the result describing it as ‘a tremendous achievement’.

In a statement SODC said it meant Thame is among the first towns in the entire country to have a community prepared plan that will be used to make decisions on planning applications.

The plan preparation was coordinated by Thame Town Council and the plan itself identifies where new housing, employment and shops will be built in the town, and what community facilities will be required. The plan takes account of the specific local needs and views of Thame and its residents.

The district council will now bring the neighbourhood plan into action and as of July, it will carry legal weight in deciding planning applications for the town.

Cllr Angie Paterson, cabinet member for planning at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are very pleased that Thame residents have agreed to adopt their neighbourhood plan.

“Everybody involved with creating the plan, from the Town Council to the residents who contributed can be very proud of the achievement – it’s good news for Thame.”

You can read about the plan on the district council’s website.

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