A BUCKET list of things which young people want to see in Tavistock was on the table – literally – as results of the public consultation on the proposed Tavistock Neighbourhood Plan were revealed.

Brown paper scrawled with ideas, collected from young people in sessions at Tavistock Youth Cafe and Tavistock College, were laid out for people to read at the recent meeting at Tavistock Town Hall.

Among ideas suggested by the young people were sports facilities, including a new skatepark ‘with a roof on because it always rains in Devon’ and a basketball court, along with a fast food chain, more ‘age appropriate’ shops and more arcades.

They also wanted to restore the train line from Tavistock to Plymouth, something also popular with the 861 people who responded to the main survey.

A total of 300 young people aged 16 upwards were consulted at events held at Tavistock College and Tavistock Youth Café.Their ideas were shared with the community alongside the results of the main public consultation, between March and May this year, which saw responses from 861 people aged 16 and upwards respond either to a written consultation or online, 14.1 per cent of the 6,100 households in the parish of Tavistock.

People’s priorities are affordable housing, improved transport links – including the rail link and cyclepaths – and protection and improvement of the town’s green spaces as well as for homes to be heated renewable energy.

As with the young people’s ideas, ideas varied from the practical to the more far out – including a suggestion for a nuclear power station. More realistically, perhaps, was the suggestion that the town centre area should be pedestrianised and the town’s Meadows park upgraded.

A steering group, with three town councillors and six community members along with a planning expert who is unconnected with the town, will now take these ideas forward, with further input from the public over the coming months.

Steering group leader, town councillor Ursula Mann stressed that this was the town’s plan, not hers.

‘It totally has to come from the community because otherwise because otherwise I am not going to get it through,’ said Cllr Mann. ‘This isn’t about us going to people with the plan, this is about them coming to us. We have got this really good team team of people [on the steering committee] and we are going to get stuck in. If people have any crazy ideas now is the time to share them.’

She is in the process of applying for £10,000 from a government funding pot to create a watertight plan to become part of planning policy, and draw down money for community projects through planning gain from Section 106 agreements with developers.

She said: ‘We have the funding an we feel we should use it to do as much as we can for the town so we need evidence to figure out what people want. ‘

With regard to affordable housing and the other priorities identified, the plan will take these forward and make them into clear policies. One suggestion is a policy stating that developments of ten houses can have no more than three bedrooms, to try to stop a rash of four-bedroom executive developments and build more homes for ‘teachers, nurses and carers’. ‘One of the things that makes housing more exclusive is size,’ said Cllr Mann.

The Neighbourhood Plan, led by the town council, aims to give Tavistock more of a say than provided by the current borough-wide blueprint for development up to 2034, the Joint Local Plan.

For instance, the plan could set at settlement boundary with development not permitted outside it other than on ‘exception sites’ for affordable housing and also draw up exactly what facilities should be prioritised to receive ‘planning gain’ cash from developers. See https://tavistockplan.info to see the full results of the survey and a timetable for the preparation of the plan.