RESIDENTS of a village likely to see housing built in the near future are working on a plan aimed at protecting their community from indiscriminate development.
Winkleigh residents have been giving their views on issues like housing development, speeding traffic, congestion and parking to help draw up a neighbourhood plan.
Results from a questionnaire of residents and comments submitted at a recent open evening are currently being analysed by the neighbourhood plan group in the village.
‘The questionnaire went out a few weeks ago and they are coming back now,’ said Penny Griffiths, outreach worker for the group. ‘We put up a display of photographs and issues and asked people to say what they thought about them. Obviously, we asked about traffic, but that is the adult perspective. We also wanted the children to talk about their experience, about whether it is easy or difficult to walk around the village.’
She said that the plan aimed to prevent unsympathetic development, and also to protect areas of green space within the village itself.
‘The idea of a neighbourhood plan is that then the developers know there is a development plan and they fit in with it,’ she said. ‘It is a bit more co-ordinated, rather than just “we have got a field here, let’s build X number of houses on it”.
‘Developers need to be more aware of how the village meshes together. It is not about saying we don’t need houses, because we know there is a need for housing. But it is to make sure that you don’t end up with a cul-de-sac development that doesn’t go anywhere and where the children can’t cross the road to get to school.’
She said the plan was also about making sure that any development was in keeping with the look of the village.
‘We have still got the historical part of the village, and this means that people know we have an historic community and they have more of a template to work from, rather than just slotting a bit of Basingstoke onto the village. It is all about maintaining local distinctiveness.’
Once the plan is drafted, there will be another chance for those in the parish to comment, before the plan is tested by a planning inspector.
It then has to be referred to as an official planning document by planners at Torridge District Council.
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