Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan reveals community views on Knowle and Port Royal
PUBLISHED: 07:30 28 November 2017
With the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan (SVNP) on its way to being classed as 'emerging', project leaders have reflected on the importance of community engagement.
Steering group members fast-tracked a report on Port Royal, providing ‘vital data’ to inform a scoping study considering its regeneration, and used the evidence collected to submit a ‘substantial objection’ to the Knowle planning inquiry.
They have faced an intense period of work since consultations ended to prepare the policies and community actions that will become the draft plan, which should be released for a six-week consultation early in the new year.
Councillor Jeff Turner said: “This has been an exceptional opportunity for the Sid Valley community to look forward into the future development of the town, valley and surrounding countryside.
“With Port Royal representing a priority area for renewal, the SVNP survey provides us with vital data to additionally inform the study of the wider community’s views on how they currently use Port Royal and the Ham, what they value there, what they wish to see retained and what new amenities they would wish to either have or avoid as part of any renewal project.”
On Knowle, steering group chairman Deirdre Hounsom said: “We have raised a substantial objection to the public inquiry based on the evidence and views we’ve collected from our extensive surveys. I intend to speak at the inquiry to explain the views of the SVNP - as it is clear that Sidmouth does not need another very expensive set of retirement apartments.”
The steering group has strived to reach all corners of the community. Councillor Louise Cole said: “We have been working hard to ensure that the policies and community actions that will be written into the SVNP reflect the views of all ages.
“For me, one of the most important parts of the NP process so far has been working with the young people’s advisory group.
“It is to their credit that over 1,000 eight to 18-year-olds responded to the survey they helped to create.
“I think that young people will hear clearly their voices coming through in what will then be a mandate for action for councils and community groups working together.”