Survey a first step towards Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan
PUBLISHED: 14:51 20 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:44 21 April 2016
All Exmouth residents are being given the chance to have their say about the future of the town, with a survey dropping through letterboxes this week.
The Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is behind the document, which it hopes will kick-start the consultation process that will eventually see the plan drawn up.
The Neighbourhood Plan has to operate within the East Devon Local Plan, but is a way for residents to influence what happens in Exmouth during the next 15 years.
The questionnaire is being delivered to every home and business in Exmouth, and has space for whole families to reply, with questions on subjects including travel, shopping and community facilities.
Steering group chairman Roy Pryke said: “It’s part of the process of ensuring there is strong community involvement, which is the golden thread - if we don’t get that right, not only are we failing to put into the neighbourhood plan what people want, but when it comes to next year when we have the referendum, we won’t have enough people ticking the positive box.”
Along with the survey, the steering group is also preparing for an open day, which all residents can attend.
This event, at Exmouth Town Hall next Thursday, April 28, between noon and 2pm, 3pm and 5pm, and 6pm and 8pm, will allow people to have discussions with the steering group and begin to suggest specific ideas, which can be placed on a big map of the town.
There will then be consultation events in individual council wards in May and June.
Also in June, the report on the survey’s findings is expected from independent organisation Devon Communities Together.
More focused stakeholder groups will then get together in July, with a first draft of the neighbourhood plan expected in the autumn.
It will eventually have to be approved by residents in a referendum, and by an inspector, before it can come into force.
Mr Pryke said: “It carries legal weight. It has to be considered when there’s any kind of development.
“Once we’ve got the plan adopted, developers and planning committee will be asked, does [a scheme] fit with the local plan and the neighbourhood plan.
“We’re hoping people around the town will get a sense of excitement, thinking ‘We can improve things’.
“We have a choice - either we plan, or we get planned for.”
The deadline for completed surveys to be returned is May 9.
Drop-off points include Exmouth Town Hall, Rivermead Post Office and the Shell Garage, Exeter Road, with other drop-off points to be confirmed.
Surveys can also be posted to Neighbourhood Plan Survey, Exmouth Town Council, St Andrews Road, Exmouth, EX8 1AW.