FARNHAM Neighbourhood Plan is to face an examination and another referendum, an independent examiner has ruled.

Following a procedural exploratory hearing on June 4, the examiner has determined the neighbourhood plan review modifications include material modifications which do change the nature of the plan and so requires an examination and a referendum to proceed.

It comes after changes to the Government planning practice guidance on May 9.

The town council was due to meet late last week to determine the next steps and is expected to agree to proceed with the examination of the draft plan.

Responding to the examiner’s decision Carole Cockburn, town councillor for The Bourne and former leader of the council, said: “I am extremely disappointed. The town needs the reviewed Farnham Neighbourhood Plan to become part of the Waverley Borough Council’s development plan as soon as possible and I had hoped we could avoid another referendum.

“The cost of another examination and referendum will be huge. Developers have deep pockets and think nothing of seeking legal challenges against cash-strapped local authorities.

“It is not a level playing-field. The Farnham Society and Residents’ Associations were terrific last time at getting the vote out in the first referendum.

“However, people are fed up with referenda at present and I cannot expect them to work as hard this time. It will not be easy to repeat the success.

“Farnham needs an adopted Waverley Local Plan, parts one and two and a made Farnham Neighbourhood Plan at the earliest possible opportunity. That is our only chance of protecting any of our green fields.”