As part of my ongoing work to help communities in Mid Norfolk create their own Neighbourhood Plans, I was delighted to speak with members of Mileham Parish Council over Zoom this last week – as they explore the pros and cons of possibly creating a Neighbourhood Plan for themselves.
Since becoming an MP back in 2010, I have worked with local community groups and councillors (in communities like Attleborough, Dereham, Watton, Mattishall, Swanton Morley, Yaxham and several others) to promote a more local and organic model of development and make sure everyone’s voice is always heard on planning issues.
(A decade ago, I set up The Norfolk Way (a not for profit campaign) to advocate exactly this model of planning – emphasising the importance of a vibrant rural economy and enlightened planning policies to promote smaller pockets of local housing for use by local people, small businesses back in the countryside and better broadband, mobile signal and road and rail links. I believe we CAN have both a vibrant local economy and maintain our local heritage)
That’s why I was so supportive of the 2011 Localism Act that introduced the concept of Town and Neighbourhood Plans, which are created in consultation with local Councillors, residents, businesses, schools and community groups so that they can shape where development should and should not go. This gives local communities a stronger say, and a forward-looking role, when decisions are made about the right type of development in our towns and villages.
If YOU are considering creating a Neighbourhood Plan for your own parish in Mid Norfolk and would like to pick my brain, please do let me know.