We have recently been told that we are being invited to decide, by referendum, whether or not to accept the Hexham Neighbourhood Plan.

We are invited to read the plan online, and then vote 'Yes' or 'No' to it when we vote in the local elections.

I am deeply concerned that we have not been able to discuss this complex plan in public, with our representatives and the authors present to answer any questions we may have.

For example, what is going to happen to our Market Place? There was an expensive and very open debate about this a few years ago, with a display for consultation in the Great Hall of the Abbey.

The people of Hexham voted to keep the Market Place as it is. Will those that have an agenda and the power be able to overturn that decision and pedestrianise the Market Place, if we all vote 'Yes' to the HNP in May?

My concern is that a 'Yes' vote will allow all sorts of changes that are not overtly stated, with everything being justified by a single vote, with no public forum for discussion beforehand.

May I suggest that a time of national lockdown is not the right time for such an important vote?

The whole thing should be delayed so that we can have a proper, democratic consultation about the future of our town.

Julia Grint