Lewes Town Council still needs the support of residents and community groups to develop a Neighbourhood Plan for the county town.
Experts from the South Downs National Park Authority joined Town Councillors in the Town Hall on Saturday to give a short presentation followed by an open forum, which was repeated on the hour, each hour through the day.
Councillors wanted to hear the community’s ideas on the future of the town and are looking for representatives to volunteer for the public steering group that will be needed to carry the process forward.
These ‘bite-sized’ introductory sessions were well-attended, and later the Chairman of the council’s Planning Committee, Cllr Susan Murray, said: “A Neighbourhood Plan is a new type of plan, introduced by the Government in 2011, which can set out a vision, aims, policies and proposals for future development of a neighbourhood. These plans can only be adopted following independent examination and a 50 per cent ‘yes’ vote in a public referendum. But, once agreed, the Plan forms part of the statutory development framework for the town and the local authority and planning inspectors have to take it into account when making decisions –so it does have ‘teeth’!
“Community engagement is vital. It cannot work properly unless the public sign up to the idea and local communities are prepared to help carry it forward – it involves people at a really practical level.”
You can see slides from the open day at www.lewes-tc.gov.uk where you can also give your views, volunteer to help, or download a form on which to register any comments.