St Leonards residents urged to support neighbourhood plan

The community in West St Leonards has been urged to respond positively to the opportunity of having its very own Neighbourhood Plan.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 4:35 pm
Residents in West St Leonards have been urged to support a neighbourhood plan

The newly-formed West St Leonards forum has distributed a questionnaire to all properties within the perceived boundaries of a future plan.

The group said the purpose of the questionnaire is to measure the level of support for the plans.

A spokesman said: “The aim of the questionnaire is to be part of a listening exercise, allowing the community to identify its major concerns to a single entity – West St Leonards forum. It is then hoped the forum will become the interface for the community with Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and develop a Neighbourhood Plan for the West St Leonards area.

“There are no such neighbourhood plans yet with HBC. Then three meetings will be held to allow the West St Leonards community to show their support, act as a platform for their views, and provide more details.”

Three meetings will be held. The first, from 4pm to 6pm on Wednesday (January 29), will be held at the Comet public house, in Harley Shute Road.

The second will be on Thursday (January 30), at the Marina Fountain public house, in Caves Road. And the third will be held on Friday (January 31) at the Discovery Centre, in Freshfields Road, between 11am and 1pm.

Virginia Vilela, speaking on behalf of the West St. Leonards organisation has emphasised the need for local communities ‘to take back ownership of their areas’, citing the success of community involvement in Preston.

She said: “Despite the huge national swing away from Labour in the recent General Election this did not occur in Preston. This is largely attributed to the strong bond of trust and cooperation that exists between Preston’s local communities and its local authority.

“The West St Leonards forum seeks a similar mind-set change where local initiatives and local needs are embraced by Hastings Borough Council. For example, housing needs in our area would be agreed by consultation and enshrined within a Neighbourhood Plan, and then approval for the Neighbourhood Plan would be sought from the community in a local referendum. This is democracy at a macro-level.”