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Spitalfields Residential and Business Neighbourhood Planning Referendum

Following an independent examination process, and in line with the Town and Country Planning Act, the Mayor agreed on 9 August 2021 to hold a referendum to ask residents and a referendum asking businesses in the area if they want the Spitalfields Neighbourhood Plan to be used when deciding planning applications in that area. 

For more details on the planning process please visit the Spitalfields page.

The two Referendum will ask the same question:


Do you want Tower Hamlets Borough Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Spitalfields to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?


Why are the referendums being held?

The Localism Act 2011 introduced new powers for people to have a greater say in the development of their local areas through neighbourhood planning.

A core principle of neighbourhood planning is that a referendum at the end of the process ensures communities, including businesses, have the final say on whether a neighbourhood development plan or order can come into force. These will affect decisions on new development proposals in the area.

A Residential and a Business Neighbourhood Planning referendum will be held together on Thursday 11 November 2021.

If passed the neighbourhood plans become a statutory part of the local development plan and have full weight in relevant planning decisions.

The Spitalfields Neighbourhood Forum was designated by the council in April 2016 and produced the Spitalfields Neighbourhood Plan.

In line with national planning legislation, two rounds of public consultation were held before it was submitted for independent examination.

The examiner of the plan recommended it should go to referendum and the Mayor accepted that recommendation.

What options will be available ?

The electorate within the Neighbourhood Plan area will be asked whether they want the Spitalfields Neighbourhood Plan to be used to help decide planning applications and the same question will be asked to those non-domestic rate paying businesses in the area in a separate referendum.

Which area of the borough is involved in the vote?

Those local government electors who reside within the area and non-domestic rate paying businesses located within the area as set out in the Neighbourhood Plan will be permitted to vote in their respective referendum. The defined area can be seen on the map

What happens if the two referendums are passed?

If the referendums are passed, the council is required to formally make the neighbourhood plan. This will be done at the next possible Full Council meeting. The result of the referendum is binding.

What happens if the referendums are not passed?

If both of the referendums are not passed, the neighbourhood plan will be withdrawn and have no further weight in the planning process. If one referendum passes and one does not pass, the council will make a decision on whether to formally make the neighbourhood plan or withdraw it.

The referendum details

The poll for the referendum will be held on Thursday 11 November 2021 between the hours of 7am and 10pm. Check the full timetable of events.

Anyone who lives within the boundaries of the Neighbourhood Planning Area and who is eligible to vote in local elections will be entitled to vote in the residential referendum.