Referendum result ‘astounds’ council chairman

FERRING residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of the parish council’s neighbourhood plan when it went to public referendum last Wednesday.

Forty-five per cent of villagers turned out to vote on the plan, which outlines how the village will be developed over the next 15 years.

The plan proposes to demolish Ferring Village Hall and the allotment behind the Henty Arms and replace them with 24 homes. A new modern community centre will also be built to replace the village hall.

Carole Robertson, chairman of Ferring Parish Council, said: “It was better than our wildest expectations. We hoped it would go through but I don’t think any of us expected such a huge majority. The turnout was brilliant. Many politicians would weep for a turnout like that.”

The referendum required residents to vote for or against four items: the neighbourhood plan, a community right to build order (CRTBO) on the Village Hall site, a CRTBO on the Henty allotment site and a CRTBO on the community centre on the Glebelands site.

Eighty per cent of residents voted in favour of the neighbourhood plan and more than 70 per cent voted in favour of each of the CRTBOs.

Mrs Robertson said: “We were absolutely astounded at the results of the community right to build orders.

“People have taken a lot of time to read the information we have put out, taken time to understood it and gone out to vote. We are lucky to have an electorate who all took that trouble.”

The plan, which has been three-and-a-half years in the making, will now formally go before Arun Distruct Council to become part of the Arun local plan.

Once implemented, the plan will provide the village with greater protection against developers, for its 15- year-duration.

Mrs Robertson said: “We are now pretty certain we have a plan we can defend. It is now a legal document. We are in a much stronger position than we were a few months ago.”