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Delivering the questionnaire door-to-door.

Delivering the questionnaire door-to-door.

Help shape West St Leonards’ future – don’t miss public meetings this week

Help Shape West St Leonards! That is the rallying cry from West St Leonards Forum as, against a background of local opposition to council housing proposals on the old bathing pool site and Bulverhythe recreation ground, they urge the community to get behind the development of a neighbourhood plan . Meetings to discuss the proposal will be held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Forum’s Bryan Fisher explains.

The community in West St Leonards has been urged to respond positively to the opportunity of having its very own Neighbourhood Plan. Such a plan enables a local community to engage meaningfully with its local authority, and a major benefit is that the community has the right via a referendum to approve the Neighbourhood Plan. The concept of Neighbourhood Plans was created during David Cameron’s time in government and is enshrined within law.

The newly-formed West St Leonards Forum has distributed a questionnaire to all properties within the perceived boundaries. This is in order to measure the support for a possible Neighbourhood Plan.

Q_Deliver2_350The aim of the questionnaire is to be part of a listening exercise, allowing the community to identify its major concerns to a single entity – West St Leonards Forum. It is then hoped the Forum will become the interface for the community with Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and develop a Neighbourhood Plan for the West St Leonards area. There are no such neighbourhood plans yet with HBC.

Three meetings will be held this week to allow the West St Leonards community to show their support, act as a platform for their views and provide more details. The schedule for these meetings is as follows:

Wednesday 29 January 4-6pm at Comet public house, Harley Shute Road

Thursday 30 January 7-9pm at Marina Fountain public house, 26 Caves Road

Saturday 1 February 11am-1pm at the Discovery Centre, Freshfields Road

Taking back ownership

Virginia Vilela, speaking on behalf of the West St Leonards organisation, has emphasised the need for local communities to take back ownership of their areas, citing the success of community involvement in Preston – “Despite the huge national swing away from Labour in the recent General Election this did not occur in Preston. This is largely attributed to the strong bond of trust and cooperation that exists between Preston’s local communities and its local authority,” she said.

“The West St Leonards Forum seeks a similar mind-set change where local initiatives and local needs are embraced by Hastings Borough Council. For example, housing needs in our area would be agreed by consultation and enshrined within a Neighbourhood Plan, and then approval for the Neighbourhood Plan would be sought from the community in a local referendum. This is democracy at a macro-level.”

 

See how neighbourhood plans work

See Guardian article on local democracy in Preston

See here for more information on West St Leonards Forum and to fill in the questionnaire online

See here for the West Marina Organisation

Posted 17:26 Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020 In: Home Ground

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