The Benenden NDP referendum votes were counted late last night:
- Turnout 56%
- YES 80.5%
- NO 19.5%
The average turnout in the UK for a Neighbourhood Plan referendum is 32%.
Nicola Thomas, Chair of the Parish Council, said:
I would like to say a huge thank you for all the support we have received for the referendum on our NDP. Very happy that the YES vote gained a majority with the official result standing at 665 YES votes against 161 NO votes.
As Parish Councillors, frustratingly, we were not allowed to campaign for the NDP, and it has been down to a wonderful group of residents who have had to campaign, explain and cajole our residents into voting for the plan. Most importantly this is the best result possible for the parish. The Parish Council now has a mandate to move forward safely in the knowledge that the NDP gives us the control we need over any new development. It will deliver the affordable housing required for, and requested by, our residents, while also welcoming new residents and families to help maintain our vibrant community. And at the same time the NDP will protect our green fields, precious views, wildlife and dark skies.
The NDP team and the Parish Council have always been baffled (and yes, frustrated) by the opposition to our plan, and this has been compounded by offers of discussion and engagement always refused by those opposing the plan. Change is often hard to accept, but now we will have the means to control this change, working in the best interests of the parish, with our policies to be adhered to at every stage of development – delivering cohesive, appropriate and attractive new housing.
Very special thanks must go to Paul Tolhurst and all the NDP volunteers, supporters and my fellow councillors, and also to Peter Davies, sadly no longer with us, who set our NDP in motion over four years ago – Peter, you can look down at your beloved Benenden and know that it is has all been worth it. Our parish, our plan, we got there in the end.