Following yesterday’s referendum, we are delighted to announce that the Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan received 90% support and is therefore successful at referendum.

The turnout for the vote was low at 8.7%, but we are informed is in line with this type of election. A total of 805 votes were cast, with 720 voting Yes to support, and 85 voting No.

If the majority of those who vote in a referendum are in favour of the draft neighbourhood plan, then the neighbourhood plan must be made by the local planning authority within 8 weeks of the referendum.

A neighbourhood plan comes into force as part of the statutory development plan once it has been approved at referendum.

Today’s result is the culmination of a process that formally started in April 2015, when a steering group of Neighbourhood Plan Directors were appointed. This group of directors have worked tirelessly since then to develop a plan that seek to shape any future development in Stone so that it benefits the parish and focuses on local priorities. An adopted plan also generates additional community infrastructure levy funds for the parish council to enable it to invest directly back into the parish to fund priorities, rather than see this money spent elsewhere.

Special thanks must go to Paul Winchester, who assumed the role of Chairman and did not waver in his support and determination to achieve this conclusion, to Valerie Winchester, Garnet Johnson, Dorothy Bartlett, John Burrell, Margaret Mitchell and Jennie Thomas, who remained directors throughout the last seven years and without whom this achievement would not have been possible.

Thanks must also go to many others that contributed to the neighbourhood plan process through the years: Reverend Kenneth Clark, Baptist Minister Joel Schofield, Pastor Stephen Brindley, Dr Bhaskar Bora, Chris Olney, Wayne Sexton, John Thilman, John Bassett, Raffia Hogg, Chris Michaelas, Keith Kelly, Stephanie Thredgle, Claire Pearce, Jessica Mote, Ellen Mote and Luke Mclean.

We are also grateful to DBC planning officers Andrea Wright and Mark Aplin for their support and guidance through the process, as well as our consultant Tony Burton, who made the final few years a much less painful process.

Lastly, we would like to thank the Stone Parish community who have contributed to numerous consultations and surveys regarding neighbourhood plan priorities, and in particular all of you that turned out yesterday to vote for your support.

This is a significant achievement for the council and for Stone Parish and we hope you will join us in celebration of this accomplishment.