20th Jan, 2019

Neighbourhood Plan proposed to give power to local residents

Ross Crawford 16th Mar, 2018

A REDDITCH Councillor is calling for Winyates to have its own Neighbourhood Plan so local people can have a direct say over the future of their district.

Coun Paul Swansborough (UKIP, Winyates) says such a move would allow residents to decide where new housing, businesses, shops and community facilities should go.

And he says only by taking such a step could residents resist the fate of Webheath – where thousands of homes are due to be built on its doorstep – or the Eastern Gateway development.

“The only way to ensure the people of Winyates have any say is through the implementation of a Neighbourhood Plan,” he said. I will therefore be looking to establish a new community group to formally submit Winyates ward to Redditch Borough Council for designation.”

Neighbourhood Plans have been steadily growing in popularity and have been used as a tool for smaller communities to have a say on any future developments.

Nearby Alvechurch is approaching the end of its Plan programme while Studley and Wooton Wawen are about to embark on theirs.

The process can take anything up to four or five years with the final Plan going to a public referendum for approval before being formally recognised by the local authority.

The initiative comes at an important time for Winyates with a redevelopment of the district centre in the pipeline.

“The great thing about this model is that it really does put the power back in our hands,” said Coun Swansborough, who is standing for re-election on May 3.

“If the group then secures the consent of the community through the vote, we would then benefit from 25 per cent of the revenues from the Community Infrastructure Levy arising from any development that takes place.

“The impact on influencing planning decisions would be immediate, as consideration for a new emerging plan would have to be included as a reserved matter in any future applications.”

Anyone interested in getting more involved can contact Paul via his email address paul@paulswansborough.co.uk

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