Residents to help draw up blueprint for town’s future

Roy Pryke.

Roy Pryke. - Credit: Archant

The people of Exmouth will be given the chance to have their say about future development in the town, as part of an upcoming consultation on its proposed Neighbourhood Plan.

The plan, which is set to progress following East Devon District Council’s adoption of its own Local Plan last month, will cover issues including housing, community and leisure facilities, wellbeing, schools and skills, business and retail, open spaces and the natural environment.

A Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has been set up, and it says it intends to engage with the community during the next year or so, drawing up proposals which will then be voted on in a referendum, probably in summer 2017.

Steering group chairman Roy Pryke said: “It is our opportunity to look closely at each part of Exmouth, to see how it is and to say how we want it to be.

“Most of the Neighbourhood Plans already approved or in preparation in Devon and throughout the country are for populations much smaller than the 35,000 in Exmouth.

“So, we have quite a challenge and to be successful we need the interest and support of people in business and the community.”

The steering group says the first stage in the consultation will be next month, when a questionnaire will be sent to every household. This will also be available online.

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In April, there will be an open meeting at the town hall, followed in May and June by meetings and discussions in each ward of the town.

After that, working parties will be formed to focus on particular issues.

The plan is for an outline to be available by the end of this summer for further consultation, then for a draft Neighbourhood Plan to be produced in spring next year, in time for six weeks of consultation before a referendum.

The Neighbourhood Plan, which has to fit in with the East Devon Local Plan, will be designed to last for about 15 years.

Once the Neighbourhood Plan is adopted, the actions to implement it will be taken by Exmouth Town Council, working with developers and the community.

The plan-making process is under the authority of the town council, with the steering group operating on its behalf.