Planning minister visits the Norfolk village which is shaping its own future
17:22 10 April 2014
copyright: Archant 2014
Planning minister Nick Boles went on a walkabout in Strumpshaw today to meet those involved in the village’s neighbourhood plan.
Visiting the field which is the proposed site for a new community room, allotments and 10 new homes, he said the plans for growth in Strumpshaw, which had been drawn up by those living in the village, were “exactly what we intended and what we hoped for when we passed the Neighbourhood Act”.
“In the old way of doing development, you found people who lived in the area didn’t benefit from it,” said Mr Boyles. “But this is a site picked by local people, everybody gets a vote and everybody in the community is going to benefit from it if they vote for it. If you can show people that they can have control over where development will happen, they will, with a bit of luck, be more supportive of that development.”
Part of the Localism Act, a neighbourhood plan allows a community to shape its own future, by deciding where building should take place, which facilities are needed and which areas should be protected.
It aims to avoid the need for local authorities and the government to decide which areas to build on – empowering residents to make their own choices about their surroundings.
The plan for Strumpshaw, which will be put to a local referendum on May 22, has been drawn up by a working group formed by the parish council. If 51pc or more of those who turn out to vote are in favour, it will then form part of the planning system.
Alison Peart, chairman of Strumpshaw Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, said it was about protecting the future of the village for those who live there.
“I believe if we can get a positive outcome on May 22, it will benefit the community in the long run,” she said. “We have held events in the parish room and it’s been good to see all the people coming and taking part and giving us feedback that has been included in the final plan.”
Phil Courtier, head of planning at Broadland District Council, said he would welcome similar schemes.
“We are an authority that wants to see communities growing in a sustainable manner,” he said.
“Retaining their pubs and their shops because they are growing, but done in a way that keeps the character of the place. We want to be saying yes to the right development in the right location.”
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