Middlewich Town Council is appealing for volunteers to help shape its Neighbourhood Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan, which will document the town’s vision for the next 20 years, can influence planning policy and planning decisions and is an opportunity for residents to set down a blueprint for the future.
Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, Cllr Gareth Williams, explained, “We want residents to be at the centre of this process, driving and shaping the ideas. We want to have as wide a cross-section as possible – with representatives from the young, the old, local business, community groups, schools, etc – so that the resulting Plan is truly reflective of Middlewich’s unique identity and everyone’s aspirations.
“A strong Neighbourhood Plan can also help to control speculative housing developments. Middlewich has attracted many such applications in the past, and while growth in a town is not bad in itself, it must come with an appropriate level of investment – in infrastructure, roads, transport, schools and medical facilities. A good Neighbourhood Plan can help to keep the two in balance.”
The main areas that the Neighbourhood Plan will cover are:
- Town Centre improvements
- The town’s heritage assets
- The railway
- Education and health
- A greener environment
- Canals and tourism
Town Clerk Lisa Benskin added, “As well as bringing their own valuable ideas to the table, we hope that volunteers will help us flesh out the detail of these big topics, through taking part in public workshops, collating feedback, and spreading the word. In terms of facilitating the new process, the previous Plan represents a reasonable starting point for us, but it needs much more detail if it is to be properly effective.”
In March 2019, a previous version of the Neighbourhood Plan was rejected by Middlewich residents.
Ms Benskin continued, “We are determined to learn from that and make sure we take residents with us on this journey. The new Plan, as well as being fit for purpose, will reflect what residents want it to be.”
If you are interested in helping with the new Neighbourhood Plan process – in a small way or a big way – please email email@example.com. You can also keep up to date with the plan as it develops by following and liking the Neighbourhood Plan Facebook page www.facebook.com/MiddlewichNP