An overwhelming 91.6% of Malpas residents gave the thumbs up to a Neighbourhood Plan referendum which will give the community a voice in deciding the future of their village.
More than 850 people backed the Malpas and Overton Neighbourhood Plan in a vote held during the same time as the General, Borough and Parish Council elections, with everyone registered to vote in the area given the opportunity to be involved.
The plan will now form part of the statutory development plan and provide a framework for sustainable development in the area,m which means it must be taken into account when deciding planning applications in Malpas and Overton.
A steering group made up of residents from the parishes of Malpas and Overton, developed the plan with support from Cheshire West and Chester Council and planning consultants IBI Taylor Young, and there was a significant amount of public consultation throughout.
Malpas Parish Councillor Chris Whitehurst, Vice Chairman of the steering group, and newly elected borough councillor for Malpas, said: “This journey began in 2011 when I read the Government White Paper and produced a report, which I then presented to the Parish Council.
“In January 2012 a steering group, consisting of local residents, was formed to work on a plan for the village. I can tell you that it was a huge journey of discovery and learning, and I would express my sincere thanks to both the Steering Group members who met on a regular basis over the last three years, and members of the community who have supported the venture.
“Everyone involved is extremely pleased by the outcome of the vote on a huge piece of work which can help shape the future of our area.
“This document will not just sit on the shelf because it will be a practical planning reference document continually referred to and there is evidence that it is already being taken notice of by developers.”
Former Malpas councillor Ann Wright, who stood down at the borough election, added: “I am extremely pleased that local people back the plan and would like to thank everyone, especially the steering group, whose diligence and hard work resulted in such a resounding success.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Executive then agreed to publish the final version including the minor modifications, triggering the referendum. The current plan will be in force until 2030, and during this time there will be reviews and amendments to keep up with changes and developments nationally.