THE PEOPLE of Otley have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the town's Neighbourhood Plan.

A referendum on the question 'Do you want Leeds City Council to use the Otley Neighbourhood Plan to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?' was held on Thursday, February 20.

The response was an emphatic yes with 89.9 per cent of the more than 2,700 people who took part giving a positive answer.

The outcome has been hailed as great news for the town and means that the Otley Neighbourhood Plan will now have to be consulted by Leeds planners when making decisions about future local developments.

Otley Town Council Councillor Richard Hughes (Lib Dem, West Chevin) said: "I’m absolutely delighted that the Neighbourhood Plan has been given such a resounding level of support.

"This gives us the opportunity to influence local planning and help to develop the town in new ways."

Ward Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) agreed. He said: "This is great news for the town.

"It means that the future of the town will now be shaped by local people through a shared vision for Otley. It will not stop development but it will mean any development reflects local needs and aspirations.

"I would like to thank all the volunteers who worked so hard to put the plan together and the many residents who turned out to vote in terrible weather.

"It shows the commitment of local people to the town and its future."

The document, which was the result of years of work and extensive public consultation, lays out priorities and aspirations for the area that will have to be taken into account by developers over the next ten years.

Those priorities include:

*Protecting the countryside, open spaces, heritage features and employment sites

*Promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly forms of transport

*Encouraging the provision of improved sport, entertainment, health and educational facilities.

Town Councillor Mick Bradley (Green, Danefield) believes everyone involved deserves a word of thanks. He said: "I’d like in particular to say congratulations and pass on thanks to the residents who have given of their time so

generously over the last six years.

"They have put in many hours of hard work and it is in many ways down to them that we have the comprehensive plan we have today."

The plan can be viewed online at while hard copies are also available at the town council offices, on Orchard Gate, and at Otley Library.