Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan
Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan
Neighbourhood Plan – Vision for Gillingham
Visit Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan website for more information and to get involved and have your say -
What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan is a new way for communities to decide the future of the place where they live. The Government has introduced the right to do neighbourhood planning through the Localism Act.
How can I make a Neighbourhood Plan?
You will be able to work with your community in the production of a Neighbourhood Plan to create a vision of how your area should grow and what it should look like. It is not a tool to stop development where it is already included in the Core Strategy / Local Plan; it gives you the opportunity to:
- shape what that planned growth will look like;
- share ideas and build consensus about needs and priorities for the area; and
- createlasting partnerships to take forward actions that may arise from the process.
Where do I start?
The first step in preparing a neighbourhood plan is to think about the issues and challenges faced by your neighbourhood. Our Neighbourhood Plan Area is the Parish of Gillingham and it will be crucial to have the input of the whole community in this parish. You might like to talk to your neighbours when you are developing your ideas to find out what opinions other people have. You might also want to talk to members of community groups that you belong to and if you have opinions, you can voice them at the meetings that are being held by the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan Group (contact Gillingham Town Council or consult the website).
What support will there be for this in the community?
It is essential that the neighbourhood plan has the support of as many people in the local neighbourhood as possible – residents, businesses, local groups, landowners and developers. Eventually a referendum will be held to give everyone in the community the opportunity to approve the plan produced.
Who is going to lead the way?
The Neighbourhood Plan is going to be produced by the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan Group (GNPG) which was formed on 29th February 2012 under the auspices of Gillingham Town Council (GTC). The group has begun by being a merger of the Gillingham Town Design Statement Steering Group and the Gillingham Town Plan Steering Group. The GNPG has already met a number of times, is meeting once a month with North Dorset District Council(NDDC) Planning Policy Officers and is reporting back on its activities to GTC on a regular basis.
How is it going to be funded?
As you may have read on page 8 in the 16/3/2012 issue of the Blackmore Vale Magazine, NDDC has been successful in its application for £20,000 front-runner funding towards the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan. This makes North Dorset one of the first areas in the country to use new neighbourhood planning powers introduced in the Localism Act. It is likely that the funds will be shared 50/50 between GTC andNDDC to cover the costs of producing the plan and paying for the independent examination and referendum that are required as part of the legal process before the plan can be adopted.
Gillingham Town Meadow
Gillingham Town Centre Regeneration Action Group (RAG) is a voluntary community group, formed as a result of opinion voiced during public consultations on future plans for the town.
‘The Meadow’ being in the town centre, was identified as a good starting place to smarten up and inject some life into Gillingham. The first task was to approach Blandford based family brewer, Hall & Woodhouse, who own the land and discuss the possibilities of using the land to the benefit the community. Initial contact was encouraging and following subsequent meetings Hall & Woodhouse have been most generous in giving a 25 year lease with a rent of £1 per annum as well as awarding £1500 from their Community Chest to start off our fund raising.
‘We are delighted to have given the Town, the meadow behind our public house, the Red Lion, which will enhance the open space available in the town centre. I’m sure this will be greatly appreciated by the local residents’, comments Hall & Woodhouse Chairman, Mark Woodhouse.
RAG has also managed to secure further funds from, Gillingham Rotary & the Olive Bowl Christmas raffle (£500), Dorset Community Chest (£2000), Radio Solent (£600), Gillingham Action for Nature (GANG) quiz (£623), to raise over £5000 to date. The committee is continuing to fund raise for phase 1, and phase 2.
The overall vision for the town meadow is to make the meadow:
- A focal point for the town
- Open up a view of the river from the meadow
- Create a park like aspect with benches and grass areas as a versatile space to hold community events like, fairs, markets, fetes, musical performances. Community events will be managed by the RAG Committee.
- To introduce signage for the town, high street and interlinked countryside walks and cycle ways. This will include an interpretation board to highlight attributes of the site, such as local flora & fauna, river corridors etc, as a possible start point for a historical town trail.
The overall vision will be delivered in planned stages or phases.
Phase 1:- To put in a hard surface path and ramp from Waitrose bridge, across the meadow which links to the high street.
Plant appropriate trees, plants, heather, hedges and shrubs.
Open up the view to the river.
Phase 2:- To strengthen the ground to ensure that the meadow can withstand heavy usage such as the fair or festivals without damaging the land
Gillingham Town Council has agreed to assist in grass cutting and watering. RAG will also work with other local organisations with plans to regenerate Gillingham High Street, namely Three Rivers Community Partnership, Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local businesses and organisations.
The meadow will then be rented out to community organisations for a modest fee, with income used to cover the costs of improvements and maintenance.
The Red Lion will assist in larger events and help with security and power.
RAG will ask for bonds/guarantees from site users to ensure any damage is repaired and the meadow is kept in good order.
July 2012 is our target date to start the change – turf cutting for phase 1. All support, be it good wishes or financial backing or physical help would be greatly appreciated.
We are hoping for a positive response from our town to make this a stepping stone to a more progressive and attractive Gillingham, supporting our high street and its beautiful surrounding countryside.
If you have any comments or offers of help or sponsorship please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Gillingham Town Centre (RAG)