The Whitburn Neighbourhood Plan has been made by and for residents. The aim is for the Plan to be adopted, so that future planning applications will have to follow the rules within the Plan. This means that the Plan will have to go through a long process before it can be adopted.
Firstly, residents and organisations will have the chance to make comments - this is the consultation that the council is running on the Plan now. Secondly, the Plan will need to be examined by an independent person with planning experience. The examiner will consider all the comments and look at the Plan carefully to make sure it complies with national laws and policies. The examiner will then write a report for the Forum and the council in which they will recommend certain changes to make sure the Plan is sound (i.e. complies with law and policy). They will also say whether the Plan can proceed to referendum.
The council will then consider whether they want to accept these recommendations and if it can proceed to referendum. If the council does not agree with the examiner, they will have to provide a good reason why not. The Forum can also still decide if they agree with the council's changes and can always withdraw the Plan.
If the council agrees that the Plan should go to referendum, the council will then organise this referendum. Residents of Whitburn will be invited to vote. If the Plan receives more than 50% of 'yes' votes, it will be adopted. It will then be used to determine planning applications.
There are some important steps to go through, but we are hoping that by April next year we will have an adopted Plan that works for Whitburn.