Leiston: Town to vote in referendum on blueprint for its future growth
14:00 20 February 2014
Residents of a Suffolk town will take part in a referendum later this year to see if they are in favour of a new blueprint for the development of their community.
Navigus Planning is working with the community in Leiston on a Neighbourhood Plan, which will put forward residents’ views on where they want housing built and what type, which areas should be safeguarded, and identify how the town would like to develop its economy and amenities.
Chris Bowden, of town planners Navigus Planning, told Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council that work on all aspects of the plan – housing, business and the town centre, leisure and recreation – was progressing well and a draft plan covering all the issues should be available by summer time, with a public referendum to be held on the plan later in the year.
There would also be further consultation event in the spring before the document – to be the town plan for the next 15 years – is finalised.
Mr Bowden said: “A lot of hard work has gone on among the various project groups and a draft of the plan is starting to come together – lots of needs and opportunities have been identified.”
Housing sites were one of the key aspects of the plan and some land had been suggested for growth, which it was hoped would then bring forward other community facilities.
Sites had been identified and other land could still come forward.
However, information was still awaited from the Office for Nuclear Regulation on the emergency zone and any building limits that might be put in place for the town.
Mr Bowden said: “We need the ONR to put that zone in place and that will provide clarity – we need to know the policy so that we can make firm suggestions on housing sites but at the moment we keep going round in circles.
“We have to make sure what goes into the plan is what the people want and what Leiston needs.
“One of the questions we will be asking in the spring is whether people want one big site for housing or to see it dotted around the town.”
The final plan would have to go to a community referendum – with a majority vote needed to accept its recommendations.