Neighourhood planning is new, and evolving so few understand it fully. We would however, like to correct some information being used to raise a petition for a Guiseley Town Council, sponsored by the Guiseley and Rawdon Labour Party. Especially, as there is a lot of hard work being put into the neighbourhood forum and planning process in Aireborough by many people from across the area.
The Fact Sheet says – “discussions are taking place regarding having a Neighbourhood Plan for Guiseley. This is part of the local planning process. We believe a democratically elected Town Council – accountable to us via the ballot box – would be the best body to draw up and monitor a Neighbourhood Plan, as well as commenting on planning applications.”
The ANF would like to point out that, whoever a neighbourhood plan is prepared by, Forum or Council, it has to go through both an examination for compliance with the Local Core Strategy, AND a local referendum. It cannot become legal unless it gets a majority in that referendum – therefore, whoever prepares it, it does have democratic legitimacy.
Further, a Neighbourhood Forum has to represent the local area, and has to be open to all who want to take part who live and work in the area. It also has to consult and research the evidence base widely. It is therefore, in essence a plan done for the people, by the people. A Town Council meanwhile may have people stand unopposed in some of its wards, as happened in Rawdon. Terms of a Neighbourhood Forum can be found here.
To quote from a recent debate in parliament on localism and people who take part in neighbourhood planning , “those are not party political elected councillors; they are volunteers of no party who are committed to the neighbourhood planning process.”
The ANF welcomes discussions on Town or Parish Councils for Aireborough, but a fact sheet, should have the right facts. We have asked the Guiseley and Rawdon Labour Party if they would make a correction to their leaflet.