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Lavenham village blueprint first to progress to a referendum

PUBLISHED: 12:14 08 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:14 08 June 2016

High Street in Lavenham.

High Street in Lavenham.

Archant

A planning document that will shape future development in a picture-postcard Suffolk village is expected to get the go-ahead to progress to referendum stage this week.

In December, proposals that form an official neighbourhood plan for Lavenham were submitted to the district council and a six-week consultation followed. An independent examiner appointed by Babergh then produced a report recommending changes to enable the plan to proceed to a referendum.

The council’s strategy committee is due to discuss the amended document at a meeting tomorrow and, if it is adopted, it will be the first plan of its kind in Suffolk to reach referendum stage. It will then be used to determine future planning applications in the village.

Lavenham Parish Council issued a questionnaire in 2013 asking residents how they would like to see the village develop. Around 70% of the local community responded with their views and these have formed the basis of the neighbourhood plan.

They include putting the emphasis on smaller homes and ensuring an adequate supply of affordable properties for local people. The document also seeks to preserve key views into and out of Lavenham’s historic core, such as Bolton Street, Prentice Street and the River Brett.

According to Lavenham Parish Council chairman Carroll Reeve, the main thrust of the plan is concerned with housing and land use. He said: “We hope that a yes vote in the referendum will see the plan become the main reference point for deciding on future planning decisions.”

Simon Barrett, Babergh’s portfolio holder for growth and the local economy, said he was disappointed that the plan did not identify specific sites in Lavenham that the parish council would like to see developed in the future.

He added: “I am glad to see it [the neighbourhood plan] coming forward but I think the parish council could have been a bit more proactive about what they want to see in their own community.

“I think it’s a shame that they haven’t told us what they would like to see rather than highlighting what they don’t want.”

If the plan is successfully adopted, the parish council will be eligible to receive 25% of any community infrastructure levy receipts from development in its area.

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