Plan one step nearer to a referendum after hearing

Examiner John Slater at the St Annes Neighbourhood Plan public hearing

Examiner John Slater at the St Annes Neighbourhood Plan public hearing

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A Neighbourhood Plan to turn St Annes into a ‘garden town by the sea’ has taken a step closer after a public hearing.

The all-day event was attended by representatives from St Annes Town Council along with Fylde Council and developers with an interest in the town.

Members of the public and representatives from community and voluntary groups also sat in on the hearing which gave independent examiner John Slater the opportunity to closely question all parties about the details of the Plan.

Plans include cheaper housing, more tree planting and a network of cycle paths throughout the town.

Neighbourhood planning was introduced to empower communities to make decisions on development in their own areas.

Highlights of the Neighbourhood Plan are: Enhanced gateways and substantial tree planting scheme within the town; encouraging affordable housing; additional protection of parks and open spaces; St Annes to become a model of sustainable development; developing pedestrian and cycle networks, ensuring links across the town; an accompanying Design Guide to improve the quality of design in new developments.

If the Neighbourhood Plan is approved later this year, it will go to public referendum over whether it brought into effect as part of the Fylde Local Plan.

St Annes Town Clerk Sally Taylor said: “We were subject to a robust and thorough examination of our Neighbourhood Plan.

“There was particularly detailed discussion regarding the Local Green Space Designation for parks and open spaces and the requested policy and wording changes will be forwarded to the examiner by July 5, with Fylde Council facilitating a short consultation period on the amendments.

“The amended Neighbourhood Plan with any comments from the consultation will be sent to the examiner late July and it is anticipated that the examiner will then provide an amended Neighbourhood Plan in August or September.

“The Plan will be subject to a public referendum, possibly later this year – and if the majority of residents say ‘yes’, the Plan becomes part of planning policy for St Annes.

Meanwhile, Elswick Parish Council has submitted an application for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area, the first step taken for any town or parish council or Neighbourhood Forum to undertake in the Neighbourhood Planning process.

The proposed boundary and accompanying statement which is a crucial part of the application is being published for a six-week consultation period starting today and can be examined at Fylde Direct One Stop Shop, Clifton Drive South, St Annes, parish noticeboards around Elswick and online at www.fylde.gov.uk/neighbourhoodplanning/