People in Barne Barton are becoming town planners and will shape development in their area for the next two decades.
Instead of the Council’s Planning Service putting together a plan and asking local people what think about it, residents have joined forces to create their own plan that will shape development in the future – whether that’s where to build homes, business premises or facilities such as surgeries and play areas.
Barne Barton Neighbourhood Forum has now been formally recognised as the body responsible for the area’s neighbourhood plan – and if approved by the planning inspector, the plan will carry the same weight as a planning document put together by the Council
This means that any planning application for Barne Barton would have to take into account the priorities set out in the neighbourhood plan.
Since 2012 communities have had powers to take more control of their area, including the power to create a neighbourhood plan. The first step was to have the neighbourhood area designated and a constituted neighbourhood forum designated by the local planning authority. The Council has now done this.
Chair of the neighbourhood forum Pat Patel said: “We are the first neighbourhood in the city to do this and there is a lot of interest in what we are doing.
”I’ve lived here for 20 years and we are fed up with things being done to us as opposed to for us or with us. There are no doctors, no shops, no pharmacy and just one bus service. This needs to change.
“All around Barne Barton, there are loads of sports pitches, for instance – but because these belong to the MOD, our young people are not able to use them. We have no infrastructure. We want to improve our community and this will give us the power to do this.”
The Neighbourhood Forum has already involved the views of hundreds of local people to get a flavour of what local people think is important, and hase been talking to landowners in the area.
Councillor Brian Vincent, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “This really is power to the people. Residents have worked incredibly hard to get to grips with what they need to address in this document. Barne Barton has been done to for many years. Now it is time for the people who live here to take control.
“The forum has shown a phenomenal amount of commitment and together they will have to decide what is most important to where and how they live.”
For more information visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/barnebartonneighbourhoodplan.
A map of the neighbourhood area, the details of the forum and constitution is on www.plymouth.gov.uk/planningpolicy