We took legal advice yesterday afternoon about the possibility of deferring/postponing the Neighbourhood Plan Referendum in light of the spread of Coronavirus. The advice was given by Timothy Straker QC who is the pre-eminent QC for matters related to electoral law.
The advice we received was categoric in stating that there is no legal basis at all for us to postpone a referendum or election once the timetable had been initiated. Timothy was clear that this would only change if central government were to make regulatory provision allowing it. This has not happened, and we are therefore required to continue with the referendum as planned.
We will, of course, put all possible measures in place to ensure that voting on 26 March is as safe as it possibly can be for electors and our staff.
Electors who are concerned about attending at the polling station can still apply to vote by proxy. Application forms can be downloaded from our website at www.scambs.gov.uk/elections, and completed applications can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 5.00pm on Wednesday 18 March. Please remember that an individual who is not an immediate family member may only act as proxy for up to 2 people.