Residents urged to have their say on Whaley Bridge neighbourhood plan

Residents in Whaley Bridge are being urged to have their say on how the area will be developed over the next ten years.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 5:36 pm
Volunteers from the Vision4Whaley steering group promoting the consultation for the new neighbourhood plan.
Volunteers from the Vision4Whaley steering group promoting the consultation for the new neighbourhood plan.

For the last four years a group of volunteers have been working hard to create a legal document which will help shape the town for the next decade.

Now the Vision4Whaley (V4W) group is at the consultation stage and is keen to get people’s opinions on the neighbourhood plan.

Sally Kaill from the group said: “It is a fantastic feeling after all these years of hard work to be at this stage and now we want as many people to have their say and give the residents a voice.”

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A neighbourhood plan has been drawn up for Whaley Bridge and is now at the consultation stage.

A neighbourhood plan gives communities more power to create a shared vision for where they live.

This means the residents of Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale, Taxal and Fernilee, can have a say on where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, what new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided.

After the consultation period, which runs until July 2, the pre-submission plans will be submitted to High Peak Borough Council (HPBC) for scrutiny and then returned to the residents next year where a referendum will take place to see if the neighbourhood plan should be adopted.

Sally said: “This is our chance to be heard, to speak up for what we would like to happen or not happen in the place we call home.

"We live in such a beautiful area and some parts are in the Peak District so we need to protect these assets.

"The neighbourhood plan will say how we want to maintain the character of our high streets and which countryside spaces we want to protect.”

The V4W aims for the next ten years are to ensure the unique character and community spirit of each area is maintained and strengthened.

It will also be championing physical and natural elements within those areas and looking to preserve them for future generations.

Sally said: “The neighbourhood plan will affect everyone in Whaley Bridge.

“Without a neighbourhood plan in place, any proposed development in our area will be determined in accordance with High Peak Borough Council's local plan, generally speaking without specific policies for Whaley Bridge.”

V4W, which is supported and partly funded by Whaley Bridge Town Council, have drawn up plans which look at four key areas for residents - employment and housing; heritage-led regeneration and conservation; environment and climate change and transport and movement.

The plan, which could shape development in the area until 2032, aims to ‘support retail, restaurants, cafes, cultural uses, visitor facilities, and recreational uses in the town centre, including changing of use from residential homes in the interest of diversification’.

Community facilities will be particularly supported, it states, especially outdoor areas which support community events.

A key issue for many is residential development of the areas so the neighbourhood plan will look to prioritise homes within the town centre and champion finding accommodation which is suitable for older people and those with limited mobility.

Another crucial part of the plan focuses on the Peak Forest Canal, Transhipment Shed, and Canal Basin and if approved, work to preserve the character of these areas will be carried out, while promoting their recreational use for residents too.

Sally said: “The rural character of the area, the tree canopy, and natural habitats are identified for protection.”

She explained that development of the towns will need to be sympathetic with the surrounding countryside taking into account views along the Goyt Valley and other green spaces in the neighbourhood area.

The neighbourhood plan will also look to prioritise pedestrian and cycle connections to surrounding transport routes, as well as encouraging more electric vehicle charging points for new homes.

Sally added: “Now we want to hear what you think of the plans before they get sent off to be looked over by HPBC.”

The plans can be discussed at events on Monday June, 13 at the Mechanics Institute on Market Street between 2pm and 7pm; on Tuesday June, 14 at Furness Vale Community Centre between 2pm and 4pm and at Footsteps, Market Street, on Thursdays in June between 2pm and 3.30pm.

Alternatively, go online to see the plans and have your say at https://www.vision4whaley.org.uk/.

To contact the group, visit www.facebook.com/vision4whaleypage or email [email protected] Alternatively, you can write to the town clerk “FAO Vision4Whaley”, Mechanics Institute, Market Street, Whaley Bridge, SK23 7AA.

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