Petitions

Petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns. We welcome petitions that have been signed by at least ten people who live, work or study in New Forest.

Before you submit a petition, you should read the full Petitions Scheme. You can download this below.

Icon for pdf Petitions Scheme [471.01KB]

Submit a petition

Petitions submitted to the council must include both of the following.

  • A clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state what action the petitioners wish the council to take.
  • The name, address and signature of any person supporting the petition. These should be people who live, work or study in New Forest.

Petitions should be accompanied by contact details, including an address for the petition organiser. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition. The contact details of the petition organiser will not be placed on our website.

If the petition does not identify a petition organiser, we will contact signatories to the petition to agree who should act as the petition organiser.

Petitions can be created, signed and submitted online via the ePetitions system. Use the link below to submit your petition to us.

You can also submit petitions in hard copy to:

The Service Manager
Democratic Services and Member Support
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst
SO43 7PA

All hard copy petitions will be added to ePetitions.

Petition responses

An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within ten working days of receiving the petition. It will let them know what we plan to do with the petition and when they will hear from us again. 

If the petition has enough signatures to trigger a full council debate or a senior officer giving evidence, the acknowledgement will confirm this.

We will not take action on any petition which we consider to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate. We will explain the reasons for this in our acknowledgement of the petition.

Our response to a petition will depend on what a petition asks for and how many people have signed it. Our response may include:

  • taking the action requested in the petition
  • considering the petition at a council meeting
  • holding an inquiry into the matter
  • undertaking research into the matter
  • holding a public meeting
  • holding a consultation
  • holding a meeting with petitioners
  • referring the petition for consideration by the appropriate review panel
  • calling a referendum
  • writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request.

The petition organiser will be notified of any action taken and the reasons for it.

The details of all petitions and our responses will be published on ePetitions, except in cases where this would be inappropriate.

Full council debates

If a petition contains more than 1,700 signatures (approximately one per cent of the district's population), it will be debated by the full council. This is unless it is a petition asking for a senior officer to give evidence at a public meeting.

Council meetings take place approximately every two months. Dates and times can be found on our Meetings Calendar

We will endeavour to consider the petition at the next meeting. On some occasions this may not be possible, and consideration will then take place at the following meeting.

The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting. The petition will then be discussed by councillors for a maximum of 15 minutes.

Senior officer evidence

Your petition may ask for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting about something for which the officer is responsible as part of their job.

If your petition contains at least 850 signatures (approximately 0.5% of the population) and gives grounds for your request, the relevant senior officer will give evidence at a public meeting of the relevant review panel.

Senior staff who can be called to give evidence are:

  • the Chief Executive
  • the Executive Head
  • the service manager as considered appropriate by the chairman of the review panel.

The review panel may decide that it would be more appropriate for another officer to give evidence instead of any officer named in the petition.

Councillors will ask the questions at this meeting, but you will be able to suggest questions to the chairman of the panel. You should contact the chairman up to three working days before the meeting.

We will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision. This confirmation will also be published on ePetitions.

If you would like to present your petition to the full council, or would like your councillor or someone else to present it on your behalf,  contact Matt Wisdom on 023 8028 5072 at least ten working days before the meeting to discuss the process.

Make an appeal

If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, the petition organiser has the right to request that a relevant review panel examines the steps that the council has taken in response to your petition.

The relevant panel will consider your request at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will take place at the following meeting.

Should the panel determine that we have not dealt with your petition adequately, it may use any of its powers to deal with the matter. These powers include:

  • instigating an investigation
  • making recommendations to the Cabinet
  • arranging for the matter to be considered at a meeting of the full council.

Once the appeal has been considered, the petition organiser will be informed of the results within five working days. The results of the review will also be published on ePetitions.

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