Villagers back South Wootton neighbourhood plan

Post Office coming to 'Talking Heads' in Priory Court, North Wootton. David Price the chairman of South Wootton Parish Council with salon owner Jo Wright. ANL-141011-112339009

Post Office coming to 'Talking Heads' in Priory Court, North Wootton. David Price the chairman of South Wootton Parish Council with salon owner Jo Wright. ANL-141011-112339009

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Residents of a West Norfolk village have overwhelmingly backed community leaders’ vision for future development in their area.

People living in South Wootton had the chance to vote on the blueprint for the village, drawn up by the parish council, in a referendum held on Thursday.

Ninety per cent of those who voted backed the plan, according to the results released by West Norfolk Council officials at the weekend

But only 803 of the village’s 3,519 registered electors actually voted, equalling a 23 per cent turnout.

However, although the figure is below the turnouts achieved at many local elections in recent years, it is still significantly higher than the 14.5 per cent turnout achieved in the county’s police and crime commissioner election in November 2012.

And David Price, chairman of the village’s parish council, said: “We are delighted with the result of the referendum.

“We would like to thank all those who voted in favour of our plan, which will mean any future development in the parish will have to take into account its locally shaped policies.

“We also thank the Borough Council and its LDF team for the help and assistance they have given us.”

The parish council has spent the last three years developing its plan.

And Richard Blunt, West Norfolk Council cabinet member for development, said: “The Borough Council congratulates South Wootton Parish Council on the resounding result in the referendum.

“The parish council has put a huge amount of work and care into producing its Neighbourhood Plan, and this will now help shape the development taking place in the parish over the coming years to meet community aspirations.”

The referendum was the first of its kind to be held in the borough. A similar vote will take place in Brancaster, where officials have also been developing a neighbourhood plan, this Thursday, November 19.

Polling stations will be open at the Simms Reeve Institute, Main Road, Brancaster and the committee room at Brancaster Staithe village hall, between 7am and 10pm.

Parish councillors in West Winch and North Runcton have also worked together to devise a similar plan for their area, where up to 1,600 homes are currently envisaged in West Norfolk Council’s proposals for future housing development across the borough.

Opponents of the major housing development proposed for the Marsh Lane and Lynnsport areas of Gaywood and North Lynn are also considering developing their own vision for those areas.