Creation of Honiton's threatened Neighbourhood Plan granted a six-month continuation

PUBLISHED: 10:45 19 June 2018

Honiton High Street. Ref mhh 10-16AW 0447. Picture: Alex Walton

Honiton High Street. Ref mhh 10-16AW 0447. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

Residents have been urged to ‘step up’ or face ‘losing out’ after the creation of the Honiton’s Neighbourhood Plan was granted a six-month continuation.

The warning, made by the town’s mayor, comes a month after the future of the document was thrown into doubt following a recommendation to shelve the document until 2020.

Deputy town clerk Heloise Marlow made the suggestion to town councillors based on the ‘lack of past and current’ interest from residents in getting involved with the plan’s creation.

The Honiton Neighbourhood Plan’s current committee is ‘inquorate’ - meaning it is not made up of enough members.

A report submitted to last month’s council meeting said: “A steering group made up of about nine to ten members with one-third councillors and two-thirds community members is essential. In view of the lack of past and current interest from the community of Honiton, the recommendation is that a neighbourhood plan cannot currently be delivered.”

However, at a meeting of Honiton Town Council last week, members agreed to let the creation of the town’s Neighbourhood Plan continue for the next six months.

Cllr Henry Brown, town mayor and chair of the council, said: “The Neighbourhood Plan will continue for the next six months, with the hope that the Community Engagement Forum will act as a conduit to entice members of the public to join the Neighbourhood Plan.

“The public must outnumber the council in representation on this - our community needs to step up or we face losing out.”

At last month’s council meeting, Cllr Roy Coombs staged a late intervention to save the Neighbourhood Plan from being shelved until 2020 - recommending it be deferred until last week’s council meeting at The Beehive.

He said: “If we have not got a Neighbourhood Plan in place it could, I feel, become a developers’ free-for-all.”

The Community Engagement Forum, which is comprised of various groups in Honiton, was formed in 2016 with the aim of improving the town and bringing about change.

Anyone who wants to join the Neighbourhood Plan committee should get in touch with the town council on 01404 42957 and ask to speak to Heloise.

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