Community backs Membury Neighbourhood Plan

PUBLISHED: 07:59 05 April 2020

The village of Membury. Picture: Google Maps

The village of Membury. Picture: Google Maps


Villagers have given Membury’s Neighbourhood Plan overwhelming support.

Axminster Heritage Centre, in Silver Street, featured a display by the Membury History Society covering its rich past from fossils to the modern day.Axminster Heritage Centre, in Silver Street, featured a display by the Membury History Society covering its rich past from fossils to the modern day.

Some 81 per cent voted for its approval in a referendum on March 12.

Turnout for the event was high, with more than 33 per cent of parishioners taking part in the poll.

The question posed in the referendum, and to which voters said ‘yes’, was: “Do you want East Devon District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Membury to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

The neighbourhood plan sets out policies for the future of the parish to help inform decisions about development and planning applications.

A steering group made up of members of the parish council, local amenity groups and individuals from the wider community have worked hard since April 2014 to produce the blueprint.

The final step in the process will be for the neighbourhood plan to be taken to a meeting of East Devon’s Cabinet to be formally ‘made’.

This will happen at the next available opportunity, but is expected to be beyond the usual eight week timescale, due to the current coronavirus restrictions.

But a spokeswoman for the council said they wanted to assure the community that the plan now already effectively carries its full weight in planning decisions due to the successful referendum.

Councillor Bruce De Saram, lead member for neighbourhood planning, said: “This Plan has then been four years in the making.

“Many people have contributed and deserve special thanks. “Firstly I would like to congratulate Alex Tasker, steering group chairman.

“Furthermore we must not forget the parishioners who have regularly actively supported and contributed to the formation of the plan.

“Next, I must mention the steering group. In particular, I would like to mention the late Beryl Griffin.

“The other full-time members were Mark Burrough, Samantha Dare, Jason Hawkes, Heather Pearse, Jeremy Wallace, John Watkins and Nick Yool.

“The plan was supported for part of the time by Bryan Drew and Mike Bell. Well done to you all.”

* There is clear evidence of habitation in Membury for at least 2,500 years. The parish’s highest ever recorded population was 886, in 1841, when the village had three pubs, all of which have since closed.

Membury’s most famous son is the founding editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, Thomas Wakley, who was born in the village in 1795.

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