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Neighbourhood Plan referendum

Aerial photo showing castle and green spaces and trees.

Preparations are underway for a further examination and second referendum on Farnham’s reviewed Neighbourhood Plan following a ruling by an Independent Examiner. 

At a procedural exploratory hearing in June, the Independent Examiner determined that new government planning policy guidance which came into effect in May, meant that the reviewed plan should be subject to a further examination and referendum. This is despite the fact that Farnham’s reviewed plan was completed and submitted some four months before the new guidance came into place. 

Councillor John Neale, Leader of Farnham Town Council says: “We are deeply disappointed by this ruling and particularly by the fact that the government changed the planning policy guidance but did not allow any transition period for neighbourhood plans which had already been submitted. 

“This uncertainty about the plan and the additional expense to taxpayers has only come about because Farnham was told shortly after its Neighbourhood Plan was adopted in 2017 that it needed to accommodate a further 450 homes before the end of 2032. Farnham needs a robust Neighbourhood Plan – this whole situation is very frustrating.”

Farnham Town council met on 27 June to consider the Independent Examiner’s conclusions and agreed to accept his invitation to proceed with the examination and referendum of the reviewed Neighbourhood Plan. 

The amended Neighbourhood Plan incorporates minor text updates and changes to reflect what has happened and permissions granted since the Plan was adopted, the end date has been harmonised with Waverley’s Local Plan and new sites have been included to meet the new housing target. The Farnham community was fully consulted on the proposed new sites and was invited to give their views on the amended Neighbourhood Plan. Farnham Town Council remains of the view that these minor revisions do not change the nature of the Plan. 

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