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Elections 2021

Neighbourhood Planning Referendum Information

General Information on the Planning System and the Referendum - Ecton Neighbourhood Plan Referendum 

This statement has been prepared to meet Regulation 4(3) (a) of the Neighbourhood Planning (Referendum) Regulations 2012 (as amended).

This statement is designed to provide more information on the way the planning system works, its purpose and how the Ecton Neighbourhood Plan will play a key role in determining the way development proposals are considered in the parish in the event that it is successful at referendum. This statement explains more about the referendum taking place and how you can take part.

What is the planning system?

The planning system ensures that the right development happens in the right place at the right time, benefitting communities and the economy. It plays a critical role in identifying what development is needed and where, what areas need to be protected or enhanced and in assessing whether proposed development is suitable.

The planning system has two main parts to it:

  • Plan making – setting out a plan for how an area will develop over time as a guide to future development.
  • Managing development – when development is agreed through planning permission.

Borough Council of Wellingborough currently administers much of the planning system, preparing Local Plans, determining planning applications against the policies of the development plan and carrying out enforcement against unauthorised development.

From 1 April 2021 this role, together with other planning matters, including transport and minerals and waste planning and strategic plan making will become the responsibility of North Northamptonshire Council. Planning applications are managed, considered and then determined following their assessment against national and local planning policy and any other material considerations.

What is planning policy?

Planning policy applicable to the borough and to Ecton Parish exists at various levels:

National planning policy

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these should be applied. The policies in it must be considered in preparing Local Plans and neighbourhood plans and it is a ‘material consideration’ in deciding planning applications. As well as making national planning policy easily accessible, the National Planning Policy Framework does several important things:

  • It makes clear that local and neighbourhood plans are central to the operation of the planning system, and emphasises the legal requirement that applications for planning permission must be decided in accordance with these plans unless there are other important factors (material considerations) which indicate otherwise;
  • It introduced a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ to ensure that local planning authorities identify and plan for the development which their areas need, and to make clear that applications that will deliver sustainable development should normally be allowed; and
  • It makes clear that it is the purpose of planning to help achieve sustainable development, not development at any cost. To this end it contains strong safeguards to conserve and enhance our valuable natural and historic environment.

Local Plans

Local plans must be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. They must be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy.

Currently the adopted Local Plan relevant to Ecton parish comprises two main documents:

  • The North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy provides the high-level strategic policies for the area that dictate the levels of development growth, where it should be located and how it should be delivered; and
  • The Plan for the Borough of Wellingborough provides the more detailed policies that deal with issues such as open space, site specific matters and smaller local scale development.

These documents will provide planning policies that will seek to manage development through to 2031.

Neighbourhood plans

Neighbourhood planning provides communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. Communities can prepare plans with real legal weight – this is the opportunity that has been taken by Ecton Parish Council. The Ecton Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared (as it must) to ensure that it accords with national policy and guidance as well as the aspirations of the Local Plan. Past this point the community has a chance to use their Plan to guide the specific way in which planned development should be delivered within the community.

The Ecton Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared by Ecton Parish Council with the assistance of a steering group of the local community. It covers the whole of the parish of Ecton. It sets out a vision for the parish in 2031 and objectives and policies to achieve this vision.

Neighbourhood plans cannot be used as a tool to block development. Instead they can be used to positively plan for and shape the development that would otherwise happen in the plan area and in a way that is representative of the community’s aspirations.

When a neighbourhood plan has passed examination, achieved successful local support through referendum and is then formally ‘made’ by the local planning authority, it will form part of the statutory ‘development plan’ which is used by the local planning authority in deciding planning applications.

The Referendum

You can vote in person, by post or by proxy if you are registered as a local government elector for the parish of Ecton by midnight on 19 April 2021. The polling station will be located at:

Ecton Village Hall

78a High Street



At the polling station you will be given a ballot paper with the question:

“Do you want the North Northamptonshire Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Ecton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

You will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question. 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.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on 6 May 2021.

General information on elections, the electoral register, how to vote, and the support provided by the Electoral Services department of the council can be found at the following web link:


If you are registered to vote by post in local elections, you will receive a postal voting back which contains a ballot paper with the same question. If you are not already registered to vote by post, and would like to be, you will need to complete an application form and return it to Electoral Services by no later than 5pm on 20 April 2021. Forms enabling you to register for the right to submit a postal vote can be found on the Government’s website (https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote). Further information on how to fill out these forms can be found here https://www.wellingborough.gov.uk/info/364/elections_and_voting/1468/elections_2021/2 , by calling the Electoral Services department on 01933 231513 or emailing elections.bcw@northnorthants.gov.uk

You should receive your postal vote around two weeks before polling day and it must be returned to the Counting Officer, Swanspool House, Doddington Road, Wellingborough, NN8 1BP by 10pm on 6 May 2021. You can also hand it into the polling station in Ecton on polling day. If it doesn’t arrive in time you can use the contact details included above to receive a replacement provided you are officially registered to submit a vote by post and do so before 5pm on 6 May 2021. Please note that you cannot request a replacement postal vote until 29 April 2021.

If you have an absent vote already, you will receive a poll card confirming this. If you can’t get to the polling station and don’t wish to vote by post, you may be able to vote by proxy; this means allowing somebody that you trust to vote on your behalf.

To vote by proxy, you will need to complete an application form available from the Electoral Services department by 5pm on 27 April 2021. When you apply for a proxy vote, you must say why you cannot vote in person. Anyone can be your proxy if they are eligible to vote and are willing to vote on your behalf. You will have to tell them how you want to vote.

The counting of the votes will take place on 8 May 2021 at Kettering Conference Centre – the time of the count will be advised to anyone appointed as counting observers, in writing, by the Counting Officer. Any persons who wish to apply to be a counting observer should complete the application and return it to the Counting Officer via the Electoral Services team by 28 April 2021. The application should state whether the person is connected with any campaign linked to the referendum. Applications can be obtained by emailing the electoral services team on elections.bcw@northnorthants.gov.uk.

If more people vote ‘yes’ than ‘no’ in this referendum, then North Northamptonshire Council will make the plan as soon as practicable and use the Neighbourhood Plan to help it decide planning applications in Ecton as part of the Development Plan.

If more people vote ‘no’ than ‘yes’, then planning applications will be decided without using the Neighbourhood Plan as part of the Development Plan for the Ecton area.


Information Statement - Ecton Neighbourhood Plan Referendum

This statement has been prepared to meet Regulation 4(3)(a) of the Neighbourhood Planning (Referendum) Regulations 2012 (as amended).

A referendum relating to the Ecton Neighbourhood Plan will be held on 6 May 2021.

The question which will be asked at the referendum is:

“Do you want the North Northamptonshire Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Ecton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

The referendum area can be identified from the map attached to this information statement. It is the same area as that covered by the Ecton Neighbourhood Plan.

A person is entitled to vote in the referendum on the 6 May 2021 if:

  • They are entitled to vote in a local government election in the referendum area; and
  • Their qualifying address for the election is in the referendum area. A person’s qualifying address is, in relation to a person registered in the register of electors, the address in respect of which he or she is entitled to be registered.

The referendum expense limit that will apply in relation to the referendum is £2386.31. The number of persons entitled to vote in the referendum by which this total has been calculated is 412.

The referendum will be conducted in accordance with procedures which are similar to those used at local government elections.

A copy of the following specified documents can be accessed via the link below the list for inspection in advance of the referendum:

  • The Ecton Neighbourhood Plan;
  • The report of the independent examiner into the Ecton Neighbourhood Plan;
  • A summary of the representations received from consultees and made available to the examiner;
  • A statement that the council is satisfied that the plan meets the basic conditions and is compliant with all legislation; and
  • A statement setting out general information on town and country planning, including neighbourhood planning and the purpose of the referendum.

These documents can be found on the council’s Ecton Neighbourhood Plan Referendum web page:


Should you require a hard copy of any of the documents please contact the planning policy team at: planningpolicy.BCW@wellingborough.gov.uk or telephone 01933 231520 or 231926.

Ecton neighbourhood plan map

Ecton neighbourhood plan map


Statement of Compliance - Ecton Neighbourhood Plan

This statement has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Neighbourhood Planning (Referendum) Regulations, namely Regulation 4(3)(iv)(bb) to confirm that North Northamptonshire Council is satisfied that the plan as modified:

  • Meets the basic conditions as set out in paragraph 8(2) of Schedule 4B to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended);
  • Complies with the provision made by and under sections 38A and 38B of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended); and
  • Is not considered to breach or otherwise be incompatible with any EU obligation or any of the Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998)


Further Information - Ecton Neighbourhood Plan

For further information please click here.