Support needed to make Sid Valley community's ideas a reality
PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 December 2017
It will be up to residents to make ideas revealed by the most comprehensive consultations ever conducted in the Sid Valley into a reality.
The Neighbourhood Plan steering group have drafted a set of ‘community actions’ for all of its seven themes – ranging from creating a networking hub, to a forum to give young people a voice. These will be led by Sidmouth Town Council, in partnership with participating local government, special interest organisations and community groups.
Steering group member Peter Murphy said: “Our consultations were the most comprehensive ever to be conducted in the Sid Valley, including not only every household but also businesses, special interest groups and young people.
“We have potential actions which cover each of our themes: the built and natural environment, housing, Port Royal and eastern town, access and connectivity, economic resilience, and our community.”
Chairman Deirdre Hounsom said the steering group will seek to partner with valley organisations, for example to boost health and social wellbeing, or to improve sports and recreation facilities for youngsters.
Asked how he could see community actions helping to shape the future, Vision Group for Sidmouth chairman Dave Bramley said: “Since its inception in 2005, the Vision Group has had at its heart the notion of retaining the character of Sidmouth while developing it in a sensitive manner.
“One of our initiatives aims to make the Sid Valley self-sustaining in energy and SidEnergy has been active in this area for some years. One of the anticipated outcomes from the draft Neighbourhood Plan will be a community action to encourage, for example, the fitting of solar panels on public buildings.
“Among other community actions which may be put forward are such potential projects as a biodiversity action plan. In the Sid Valley, where wildlife interests and ecology are all around us, the concept of eco-corridors is beginning to emerge, where natural habitats and movement corridors for wildlife, typically along rivers and streams may be defined and prevented from fragmentation.”
The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan is on its way to being classed as ‘emerging’ and will soon carry statutory weight.