Neighbourhood plan roadshow so popular repeat event is due
THE first meeting to gauge residents’ opinions on a document which will dictate how Petersfield looks in the future was so popular a second is planned.
More than 140 people attended the open day in the Festival Hall to contribute ideas and learn more about the proposed Petersfield Neighbourhood Plan process.
It is being funded by a £20,000 government grant, and will outline residents’ thoughts on how the town should grow.
Once completed, it will a planners ‘bible’ when proposals for houses, businesses and shops are decided by either East Hampshire District Council, or South Downs National Park Authority.
Background work on the ambitious and wide ranging document began last year and Petersfield Town Council is overseeing the process, but says it won’t influence the outcome.
Council clerk Neil Hitch is a member of the steering group and said the finshed article should reflect residents’ views and opinions, not the councils.
He said: “The open day was well attended, people seemed very keen to get involved and a lot of ideas and thoughts came out of it.
“We hope to compile and collate them all by mid-February, and then there will be another event in March.”
During the day residents could visit eight work stations featuring different aspects to be considered when the plan is compiled.
At the work stations, complete with experts, they learned more about each area and expressed ideas, opinions and thoughts on them.
Contributions discussed included pedestrianising parts of the town centre, street design, road crossings, parking, tourism, which pieces of land should be built on, the type of houses favoured and business development.
Finalising the plan has gained fresh urgency after a similar East Hampshire District Council document covering the whole district failed to gain government approval, although it is likely to be resubmitted in the autumn.
There are fears unless the neighbourhood plan is completed soon, the town may be left without a planning policy.
Steering group chairman Malcolm Walton said: “It is more important than ever we progress with its completion as quickly as possible in an effort to stop inappropriate development in the town.”
The plan is viewed as one of the most important documents to be produced in the town’s history.
In future it will be regularly reviewed to see if any changes are needed as the town evolves and grows.
The steering group hopes to publish it by summer 2014, although it will have to be approved first by residents voting in a referendum.
For details of progress, more information or to get involved, visit petersfieldplan.co.uk
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Weather for Petersfield
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North