On Thursday 8 July 2021, there will be a referendum on a neighbourhood development plan for your area. This page explains more about the referendum that is going to take place and how you can take part in it. On this page you can find out about:
A referendum asks you to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a question. For this referendum you will receive a ballot paper with this question:
“Do you want Maidstone Borough Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Otham to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”
You vote by putting a cross (x) in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box on your ballot paper. Put a cross in only one box or your vote will not be counted.
If more people vote ‘yes’ than ‘no’ in this referendum, then Maidstone Borough Council will use the Neighbourhood Development Plan to help it decide planning applications in Otham.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan once adopted will then become part of the Development Plan. In the Maidstone Borough Council Local Planning Authority area the development plan currently consists of the:
If more people vote ‘no’ than ‘yes’, then planning applications will be decided without using the Neighbourhood Development Plan as part of the Development Plan for the local area.
Neighbourhood planning aims to help local communities play a direct role in planning the areas in which they live and work.
A community can prepare a neighbourhood plan. This plan can show how the community wants land to be used and developed in its area.
A neighbourhood area can cover single streets or large urban or rural areas. The boundaries of a neighbourhood area are put forward by:
In Otham the boundary of the neighbourhood area was determined by Otham Parish Council and is identical to Otham Parish.
Neighbourhood plans are prepared by town or parish councils, or neighbourhood forums. In this case, the Otham Neighbourhood Development Plan was prepared by the Otham Parish Council.
In England, planning applications are determined by local planning authorities in accordance with the Development Plan. A Development Plan is a set of documents that set out the policies for the development and use of land across the entire local authority area. Within the Maidstone Borough, the local planning authority is Maidstone Borough Council.
The referendum area is identified on the map and is identical to the area which has been designated as the Otham Neighbourhood Development Plan area.
Expenses can be incurred by an individual or body during the period of the referendum for referendum purposes.
The referendum expenses limit that will apply in relation to this Referendum is £2407.49. The number of persons entitled to vote in the Referendum by reference to which the limit has been calculated is 771.
The specified documents can be viewed online at:
Further information is available at:
You can vote in the referendum if you live in the Polling District:
IA – Otham (Part)
IB – Otham (Part)
IC – Otham (Part)
You have to be registered to vote by Tuesday 22 June 2021 to vote in the referendum. You can check if you are registered to vote by calling our Helpline 01622 602007.
The referendum will be conducted based on procedures which are similar to those used at local government elections.
There are three ways of voting:
In person on 8 July 2021:
Postal and proxy vote application forms are available from our Helpline 01622 602007 or by emailing email@example.com. You can also download forms from the Electoral Commission website www.electoralcommission.org.uk
If you’re not registered, you won’t be able to vote. You can check if you are registered by calling our Helpline on 01622 602007.
If you are not registered to vote, you will need to complete an application to be received by the Electoral Registration Officer by Tuesday 22 June 2021 at this address:
Electoral Services, Maidstone Borough Council
Maidstone House, King Street
Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
Registration forms are available from our Helpline on 01622 602007 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Applications can be made online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. For more information on registering to vote, please visit the Electoral Commission website www.electoralcommission.org.uk
How to find out more:
For queries about planning issues and neighbourhood planning in general, please contact Maidstone’s Planning Policy Team on Tel: 01622 602000.
For more information about voting and the arrangements for this referendum, please contact our Helpline on 01622 602007 or email email@example.com