Earlier this evening – Tuesday 19 July – a public meeting was held in the Town Hall to brief members of the public (and to answer any questions) regarding the Marlborough Area Neighbourhood Plan which is in the final stages of its creation.
Next major stage will take place on Thursday 11 August when there will be a referendum – where all residents in the area covered by the Plan will be able to vote to approve – or otherwise.
Ultimately it will be the decision of the Marlborough area electorate to decide ‘yes’ and approve the plan, which will then go through the final ratification stage, but once approved by the community, it will effectively be finalised. Or to reject it.
Several comments were made by those attending the meeting regarding the date of the referendum: mid-August. A time when many are away on holiday and August being a traditionally poor time to hold any form of election. But if anyone can’t get to a Polling Station on that day, Postal Votes are possible and how to cast your Vote by post is detailed below:
To get a Postal Vote, applications for postal and postal proxy votes must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Electoral Services, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8JN by 5pm on Wednesday 27th July 2022.
There will be a further ‘online’ version of tonight’s Public Meeting in the form of a ‘Zoom’ session on Tuesday next week – 26 July – and to access that meeting click here and visit the page on the Town Council website with the Zoom link, Meeting ID and passcode details.
Is the Neighbourhood Plan important? The answer is yes. Steering Group Chair, Councillor Mervyn Hall who was presenting details of the plan to the meeting was asked the question – ‘what if the referendum delivered a ‘NO’ result?’ His answer was quite clear – there would be no Neighbourhood Plan. The Plan acts as a degree of protection for the area, detailing housing requirements, infrastructural needs and many other aspects. Cllr Hall listed nineteen separate areas of policy that the Plan covers, all of which are fundamental to the development and growth of Marlborough.
The plan has been a long time in formulation, it was started seven years ago in 2015. But apart from creating a framework for the needs of Marlborough going forward, it also creates a window on to the Town itself for the Town Council. It enables the Council to become far more aware of the Town, important when advising, consulting or making any major decision and whilst everyone automatically (and misguidedly) expects the Town Council to know everything about Marlborough, reality means that it doesn’t, and can’t. But the Neighbourhood Plan creation process has given the Council a far better, more balanced and informed view of Marlborough. Coming out of this Plan process, the Council will know the Town much better.
Going forward: ‘Zoom’ online public meeting next week (Tuesday 26 July); Referendum to approve or reject – Thursday 11 August. If you can’t be there to vote, apply for a Postal Vote as per the above instruction.