A steering group has been formed to help create a neighbourhood plan for Herstmonceux.
The group of seven councillors and 11 parishioners will guide the plan to determine what services are required by residents. The plan also gives them an opportunity to influence the development of the area where they live and work.
Herstmonceux Parish Council set up the group following the Localism Act 2011, which introduced a new, local tier to the planning system which gave more power to parish councils to create a Neighbourhood Plan.
When completed, the plan will become a statutory document carrying significant weight in informing planning decisions. It will also include policies for the management of development in the parish.
The Neighbourhood Plan can be used to: develop a shared vision for Herstmonceux Parish; influence where new homes, shops, schools and other developments should be built; influence the type, design and layout of new developments; and identify and protect important amenities such as green spaces.
As part of the plan every household in the parish will receive a questionnaire at the beginning of April to determine opinions on issues.
In addition to the questionnaire, five focus groups have been created to discuss different aspects of the plan including housing, environment, community and employment.
A parish council spokesman said: “The aim of the focus groups is to discover what people value in the parish, and how those features can be developed, enhanced, and protected.”
“The groups will meet as often as possible and represent as wide a range of ages and experiences as possible.
“Herstmonceux Parish Council urges residents to become involved in the creation of the neighbourhood Plan which will affect everybody in the parish. It is your opportunity to become involved in what you want for your community over the next 15 years. Please complete the questionnaire when it arrives in April and join in workshops and focus
The professional services of Action in Rural Sussex and a Planning Consultant are supporting Herstmonceux Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
Action in Rural Sussex and the Planning Consultant will use the information from the Focus Groups to create a State of the Parish Report and residents will have the opportunity to discuss the report in a series of workshops. A Draft Neighbourhood Plan
will follow and further consultation with residents will take place.