MONTHS of work by a dedicated group of volunteers to create a framework for Cricklade’s future development goes to the vote tomorrow in a referendum.

And if the Neighbourhood Plan wins acceptance it will be adopted by Wiltshire Council as a legally-binding document and used to help decide future planning applications for homes, industry and transport for the next eight years.

Town council chairman Mark Clarke said: “It has been a long haul. Wroughton has got one, Highworth has got one, Malmesbury has gone one, there are lots of places working on them at the moment and time will tell how useful they are.

“The referendum is the last stage so we hope it gets the thumbs up from the residents of Cricklade.”

To be a valid plan it needs a ‘yes’ vote from more than half of those who make it to the polling station.

But Mr Clarke is hoping for a high turnout so the decision will carry more weight.

The framework covers four main areas – housing development, employment, transport and the look and feel of the town.

“There are two main advantages,” said Mr Clarke. “It gives us some control over planning decisions in Cricklade, over which at the moment we have effectively none.

“We can give an opinion but we do not have to be listen to.

“The other is the fact that the Community Infrastructure Levy, which has to be paid by developers, will generate some extra money for the town. With a neighbourhood plan in place 25 per cent of the levy payment will have to be spent in Cricklade.”

On its journey to the final vote the plan has been through three public consultations and been reviewed by a planning inspector.

Among the objectives the group set out were requirements that new housing should be prioritised to meet local needs, especially the young and the elderly, that design and scale should be in keeping with the town and new developments should be within walking distance of the town centre.

Developments should not cause flooding and drainage problems – an issue parts of Cricklade have faced on several occasions – and they should include open spaces.

One issue priority residents were keen to see emphasised was the rural buffer between Cricklade and Swindon. “People are concerned that Cricklade maintains its identity,” said Cllr Clarke.

Measures to encourage HGV operators to avoid the town, improvements to the road network, employment with a focus on small businesses, enhanced shopping opportunities and protection for the town’s historic buildings are also laid out as objectives.

Voting is open from 7am to 10 pm tomorrow and the votes will be counted overnight.

When residents get to the booths, the paper will ask people: “Do you want Wiltshire Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Cricklade to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

As well as the 50-page plan, the group also produced a factsheet that was delivered to all homes, telling people what neighbourhood planning was all about and what the group hoped to achieve.

lage Purton is currently going through a consultation on its neighbourhood plan, which ends on March 20. Their draft plan can be seen online at