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Walsham-le-Willows residents making strides towards achieving neighbourhood plan

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Residents in a Suffolk village are making great bounds towards deciding on the future development of their area amid recent tensions with housing developers.

A hundred people from Walsham-le-Willows came together to discuss their neighbourhood plan –a document the district council would have to consult by law before signing off on development plans in the area – and learn about the history of the village.

The plan is currently going through a consultation period and is due to be finalised in 2022.

Large maps displaying parish flood zones and protected areas were exhibited.
Large maps displaying parish flood zones and protected areas were exhibited.

The plan will give residents a large say in the development of the village, and comes amid a backlash from the parish council and inhabitants over plans to build 60 new homes on the outskirts of the village despite objections over the size, scale and design of the housing estate.

Organiser Suzi Martineau said neighbourhood plans were an effective way of ‘having conversations about the future’, and volunteer Sally Johnston said the plan would allow residents to focus on the specific needs of the village moving forward after lockdown had given many a chance at reflection.

The meeting in July was the first in a series aimed at addressing issues which affect the community such as housing, transport, the environment, leisure and education.

Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House (40007145)
Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House (40007145)

Once residents have agreed on the neighbourhood plan, it will be presented to the district council –from then on, any planning applications made to them will have to consult the plan to ensure the issues raised by residents are met.