The first Neighbourhood Panning Workshop held in the Biggin Hall on 28 November – and was a huge success with the hall full of local people sharing their detailed knowledge of Dover and thoughts about how to make the Town a better place to live and work.
Planning experts explained how Neighbourhood Plans can benefit Dover – giving local people a chance to develop a vision for the future over the next 20 years, decide where they would like new development, what new infrastructure (such as roads) is needed, and plan support and community facilities for the lives they want to live.
The meeting broke into smaller groups to consider themes in detail including
- Local Communities, health and wellbeing
- Meeting housing need
- Design and Character of the Town
- Port, transport and infrastructure
- Opportunities in Tourism, employment, education and training
- Environment, recreation and open spaces
Strong opinions were expressed all round and the feedback session was lively as different views and experiences were debated and everyone had a chance to contribute and be heard.
Neighbourhood planning gives communities a chance to take the lead in producing part of the development plan for their area – a Neighbourhood Plan is a legal document and must be used when deciding on planning applications. It can make a real difference in the fight against poor quality development such as conversions of large properties into too many tiny flats that are primarily aimed at making profit for the developer.
The Plan will make sure that future development in Dover is
- vibrant, attractive and well designed
- in the public best interest balancing social, economic and environmental considerations
The Town Council is co-ordinating and supporting the making of the plan but you – the local community – decide what you want for Dover. People with passion, enthusiasm and knowledge of the Town are vital part of the process.
Making a good Neighbourhood Plan needs everyone to contribute their ideas, hopes and vision for Dover – so the process gives plenty of time and opportunity for everyone to get involved.
More events are planned. The next workshop will be at the Dover Disability Forum and a Questionnaire will be sent out at the end of February.
If you would like to be involved in changing Dover for the better please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01304 242625, write or drop by to the Town Council offices. The Neighbourhood Planning Steering Group is looking for members from all sections of the community and also for people to contribute to smaller focus groups -so if you have a bit of time and an interest in Dover’s future or expert knowledge on key aspects of life in the Town you would be really welcome!
The Dover Neighbourhood Plan will be voted on in a formal referendum of local electors and sit alongside the National Planning Strategies set by Central Government and other Plans adopted by Kent County Council and Dover District Council – the Neighbourhood Plan written by Dover People for Dover People will make sure that your choices about your lives are taken seriously.