Deirdre takes centre stage to lead Sid Valley’s Neighbourhood Plan

Deirdre Hounsom

Deirdre Hounsom - Credit: Archant

Former West End actress is ‘honoured’ to be taking project forward

A former West End actress and businesswoman will take up the reins and steer a project to shape the future of the Sid Valley.

The appointment of Deirdre Hounsom marks an important step forward in the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan, which will form a blueprint for the future development of Sidmouth, Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis.

Former actress Deirdre is also a qualified business coach, speaker and retired businesswoman and has been chosen by the town council as the best candidate to steer the community-led project forward.

As the new chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan steering group, she said: “I am pleased and honoured to have been asked to lead the Neighbourhood Plan.

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“I am under no illusions as to the amount of hard work and effort it will take to produce a plan that will, as far as possible, reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people of the Sid Valley.

“It is no small task to bring together businesses, special interest groups, health, social needs, education and development and there will be plenty of challenges along the way to producing a Neighbourhood Plan that the majority of people can support when it goes to referendum.”

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The £46,000 project was given the go-ahead by Sidmouth Town Council in December and is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete.

Once adopted, the finished document will carry legal weight to influence planning decisions in the parish and a steering group is currently being formed to take it through the next stages.

Town councillor Louise Cole chaired the task and finish forum (NP TAFF) that had led the project.

She said: “This appointment marks a brilliant step forward. We are working on bringing together the steering group and hope that over time more people will lend their knowledge, skills and experience to the process.

“The whole project is about collective responsibility and a desire for people to work together to create a plan for the Sid Valley that will help to protect and promote the area and reflect the aspirations of the community.

“I am confident that we now have a chair committed to that vision who will soon be up and running with a fantastic team who bring an enviable skill set together to get the job done.”

The first steering group meeting will take place in March 21, when the chairman and her deputy will be formally adopted and nominations made for key areas.

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