Voters in Balsall and Meriden parish council areas turned out in force last week to have their say in local referenda on whether Solihull Council should adopt new Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) for their areas.
The NDPs are community led plans which set out policies to guide the future use and development of land within the areas. The plans were formed following extensive consultation with local residents and businesses.
Balsall Parish was declared a Neighbourhood Area in 2017 and the Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to the Council in April 2019. The Council and the Parish Council agreed to hold a referendum last year, but this had to be delayed due to Covid-19.
At the referendum on 6 May, there were 1,796 votes in favour of accepting the Neighbourhood Plan, with 269 against. This means an 87% majority voted in favour of the NDP.
Meriden Parish Council, in consultation with the local community, submitted their Neighbourhood Plan to the Council in March 2020. This Plan also proceeded to a referendum which took place alongside the other elections on the 6 May 2021.
At their referendum, there were 756 votes in favour of accepting the Neighbourhood Plan, with 127 against, giving an 83% majority in favour.
These Neighbourhood Plans, which now form part of the borough’s development plan, provide more detailed local policies which will help to shape new development to meet local expectations and protect local assets such as heritage and wildlife, and come at an important time for both areas.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, welcomed the referenda results:
“I’m pleased both Parish Councils have worked with their residents to produce Neighbourhood Development Plans, which have been overwhelmingly supported by their local communities.
“These NDPs will allow the Balsall and Meriden parish councils to have a positive role in shaping future developments in their area and have given these communities an opportunity to reflect on what makes their neighbourhoods so special for those who live there.”