A referendum is due to take place this week alongside the County Elections.

Northumberland County Council has announced that the local referendum will be open to residents of the civil parish of Hexham who are registered to vote. They are being invited to have their say on the Hexham Neighbourhood Plan.

Voters will be asked to respond ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question: ‘Do you want Northumberland County Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Hexham to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?’

Hexham Town Council have said that the plan covers several key areas in the hope of bringing a bright post-pandemic future, including building affordable homes, green spaces, and community resources, while tourism and the future of local businesses are also vital parts of the project.

Initially, the vote was due to take place last year but has been put back due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

If a majority of residents vote yes to the Neighbourhood Plan, it will be used to make decisions on planning applications in the future.

Earlier this month, the Hexham Courant asked its readers to share their views about the Neighbourhood Plan online, and some residents said they were concerned that they have not been able to discuss the complex plan in public due to recent lockdowns.

Back in March, the Steering Group of Hexham Residents who prepared the plan said: "Thanks go to the many Hexham people who have supported this demanding process, at forums, at drop-ins, by returning questionnaires, by sharing their ideas and ambitions for the town of Hexham. The end is in sight. It’s decision time."

Then, Coun. Bob Hull, the Mayor of Hexham, said: "The plan sets out an important forward-looking vision for the town which Hexham Town Council believes reflects the views of local people who have a real interest in their community. I would urge Hexham residents use their vote on May 6 in the referendum organised by Northumberland County Council as part of the local elections."

The Hexham Neighbourhood Plan will take place alongside the County, Parish, and Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Police elections. In person polls will take place from 7am until 10pm on Thursday May 6 while options are available for those who have registered for post and proxy voting.

The plan can be seen at northumberland.gov.uk/Planning/Neighbourhood.aspx.