New plan for Ottery highlights concerns of community

Views of the town from the roof of the bell tower of Ottery St Mary parish church. Ref sho 1447-39-1

Views of the town from the roof of the bell tower of Ottery St Mary parish church. Ref sho 1447-39-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

‘Not an easy task to get right balance for parish’

Guarding against unwanted development is at the heart of a community-led Ottery project that is now another step closer to completion.

The first draft of a neighbourhood plan for the parish has been compiled using evidence gathered from residents and representatives - and it works to highlight some of the key concerns, including strain on infrastructure and parking.

A group of volunteers have been driving the project which, once adopted, will form a legal blueprint to influence future development in Ottery, West Hill, Tipton St John and surrounding villages.

The draft plan will now be submitted to East Devon District Council (EDDC) and should be ready for the first formal public consultation in late November or early December.

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Town councillor Jo Talbot chairs the group and admitted it has not been an easy task to get the right balance for the parish, but it has given residents a chance to voice their opinions.

Cllr Talbot said: “One of the things that are of concern to people is the roads within Ottery and HGVs going through. That is something that keeps being flagged up time and time again.

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“The other thing is parking which has also been flagged up repeatedly. The main thing is to safeguard the town against unwanted development.

“It’s quite difficult because Ottery has had so much development before the Neighbourhood Plan was established.”

A public realm survey – to identify, celebrate and preserve assets and characteristics of a place - was carried out as part of the work and Cllr Talbot said this could play an important role in helping to safeguard the town centre.

She also assured residents that the recent successful bid for West Hill independence will not affect the neighbourhood plan that covers a designated area.

After members of the public and interested parties have given their feedback, the plan will be amended as necessary and sent to EDDC ready for another consultation.

By spring 2017, the document is expected to be sent off for examination to make sure it is sound and legally workable, before going through a final amendment process.

People in the parish will then be asked to vote in a referendum to determine whether the neighbourhood plan should be formally adopted.

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