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First Neighbourhood Plan in Yorkshire Approved

The Walton Neighbourhood Plan is the first Neighbourhood Plan in Yorkshire to be adopted after a Referendum took place on the 3 December 2015.

Members of the Spawforths team who are residents in Walton village and parish including David Rolinson and Alastair Cliffe have been instrumental in working as part of the Walton Parish Council's Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to prepare the Neighbourhood Plan which began in April 2012. Following a very extensive engaging process with the local community and working with Wakefield Council, an Independent Examiner on the 20 August 2015 commended the document and concluded that the Neighbourhood Plan could proceed to a Local Referendum following a minor modification.

An impressive 34.11% of people in the Walton village and parish, which is situated 3 miles south-east of Wakefield City Centre voted, with 96% of voters (849 people) voting YES. The Neighbourhood Plan will now become part of the adopted Wakefield Local Development Framework and the policies contained within them will be used by Wakefield Council in the determination of future planning applications in Walton.

Neighbourhood Planning was introduced through the Localism Act 2011 and gives communities the power to get the right type of development appropriate for their community. Neighbourhood Plans have to meet a number of conditions before they can be put to a community referendum and legally come into force. They must have regard to national planning policy, must be in general conformity with strategic policies in the development plan for the local area (i.e. such as in a core strategy) and must be compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements. Proposed Neighbourhood Plans need to gain the approval of a majority of voters of the neighbourhood to come into force. If proposals pass the referendum, the Local Planning Authority is under a legal duty to bring them into force.

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