A meeting to discuss a Neighbourhood Plan for Withiel, held before the February Parish Council meeting, attracted 15 people who endorsed Council Chairman Sue Kirkby’s suggestion that work should continue this year on producing a Plan for the area.
The Government is promoting the production of Neighbourhood Plans, which it says will be taken into account when important decisions affecting parishes are taken. The Withiel Plan will eventually form part of the Cornwall Local Plan and will establish where development can be expected to take place, among other things.
The work on bringing the Neighbourhood Plan to this point has been done by Sue Kirkby, who devised the questionnaire delivered to all homes last year which established that there was an appetite in the Parish for a dedicated Plan. Sue has now proposed a series of meetings to discuss aspects of the Plan, which the February meeting endorsed.
The Plan is particularly important because the seven parishes around Bodmin are required to find space for some 200 new homes in the next 15 years. The means Withiel must make room for about two new homes per year during that time. The next meeting, in the Village Hall on March 18th, will look at basic infrastructure – sewage, electricity and water – on which all development depends. The second meeting will be on April 22nd and will debate the natural environment and its needs, as well as footpaths and roads. The subject of housing will be spread over two meetings, on May 20th and June 17th. We must discuss the need for new homes, design factors, and crucially, where they might be sited. A meeting on July 15th will discuss community facilities, community energy, and work spaces. Further meetings are scheduled for August 19th, September 16th, October 21st and November 4th.
Participants in the February meeting made a number of suggestions for celebrating the heritage of Withiel and recording its history, upgrading the withiel.com website and other matters.
Sue Kirkby commented that Withiel had done better than other Parishes in terms of participation, with more than 50 percent of all questionnaires returned and almost everyone expressing positive support for the production of a Neighbourhood Plan.