A new Horsham forum for the unparished areas of the town will ‘reach out to people with no voice’ in the community, its chair has said.
An informal meeting of Horsham Blueprint, a forum set up by Denne, Forest, and Trafalgar neighbourhood councils to look at developing a Neighbourhood Plan for the unparished areas of the town, was held last Wednesday and saw a presentation given on what a plan might involve.
Through the Localism Act central Government is encouraging parishes to draw up the plans to sit alongside district-wide Local Development Frameworks to inform where development might go and what community facilities should be provided.
However in unparished areas a neighbourhood forum needs to be established first before a Neighbourhood Plan can be drawn up.
Frances Haigh, chair of Horsham Blueprint, as well as a Liberal Democrat Horsham district councillor, said: “There are a lot of people in the community who do not have a voice and this process will be reaching out to those people.”
She thought that many people in Horsham were concerned about things such as parking issues, and speeding in some of the narrow Victorian lanes.
“People want the opportunity to do something about these problems,” she explained.
“We are not going to be here forever we need to get people thinking more about what’s happening in their communities.”
On more narrow group interests John Steele, of the Horsham Society, said: “If this is to work people have to put these down and get in touch with the people we do not usually talk to and letting go of our existing positions if this is to work.”
Mr Steele added: “We’re not looking at one plan for the whole town and I think people would find it very odd not to have a single plan for a single town.”
North Horsham Parish Council (NHPC) is looking at drawing up its own Neighbourhood Plan and consultant Angela Koch said that it was something the independent examiner might comment on.
Mrs Haigh said that Roger Wilton, chairman of NHPC, was happy to liaise and would look at drafting a memorandum of understanding between the two bodies.
She added: “It could be planting more fruit trees to protect the bees.
“We need to protect the bees as much as we can. People might think that is trivial but it’s crucial.”
Mark Hough, a Forest neighbourhood councillor, pointed out that since they lived in an environment were ‘things go ok’ whether it would be easy to mobilise a population of 24,000 people.
To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org
See page 76 for Nik Butler’s column on the meeting