The referendum is for the Neighbourhood Plan in Harpenden, which is due to take place on the 7th of February.
Neighbourhood plans were introduced to give local communities an opportunity to set planning policies, and can only be adopted following a referendum. They form part of the planning policies for planning authorities, who have to consider them. You can see what it proposes on www.harpenden.gov.uk or you can pick up a copy in the Town Hall and Library.
The Neighbourhood Plan is a 15 year planning document (to 2033) that has been written and shaped by the people of Harpenden over the last two years, taking into account over 3,600 survey answers. Any planning application for Harpenden put forward in the future would have to be in line with its policies if it was voted in.
The Harpenden Neighbourhood Plan is not the same as the St Albans Local Plan. The St Albans Local Plan is the document St Albans City & District Council are putting together that will cover the whole district and take into account the housing allocation for the district. The Neighbourhood Plan covers only Harpenden, which will sit alongside the Local Plan.
It is a real reflection of the town’s opinions and has been put together by many volunteers and community representatives from a wide range of groups across the town. Many of your fellow residents have given up hours and hours of their time to do this for you. It is your plan.
You might feel that some of the policies really appeal to you – for example, it is big on sustainable transport like walking, cycling and other environmentally friendly methods. It protects some of our green spaces. It focuses on the need for 2-3 bedroom houses.
If the town votes 'No' then we will have no document of any sort representing the opinions, wants and needs of Harpenden when planning applications come forward. Only policies from the National Planning Policy Framework and the St Albans Local Plan will be considered.
Harpenden deserves better. Please vote yes in the Neighbourhood Plan referendum.