17 March 2017
The Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan is all about the future of Gillingham.
This is a town with huge potential. We’ve got good transport links, there are brilliant schools, we’re surrounded by glorious countryside, there are footpaths through grassland and alongside rivers, there are plenty of business opportunities, there are houses of all types and sizes and there’s a strong sense of community.
So, in this glorious scenario, what’s not there?
For a start we could do with a revamped Station Road, so that when you arrive by train or bus you’re greeted by clear information signs and a thriving commercial sector. The ‘Friends of Gillingham Station’ are doing their bit, as are those who achieved ‘Walkers are Welcome’ status for Gillingham, but this is one area where we could up our game to the town’s whole benefit.
Although we have good footpath and cycle tracks they’re not interconnected and we’ve laid out possibilities for improvements.
Economic opportunities abound – this is the ‘town of 1000 businesses’, some large, some small, all making a go of things. As the town expands so do the opportunities.
The Neighbourhood Plan Area consists of the whole of the Parish of Gillingham, so it includes Milton-on-Stour and significant tracts of open countryside. In the public’s response to our plan you’ve said how much you value the countryside setting of Gillingham and we’ve gone to great lengths to try to ensure that it’s safeguarded in any future development.
any new development must show due regard for good design and layout;
development should include decent amounts of new open space as well as protecting what is already there;
streets should be of a reasonable width;
garages need to be of a size to take a modern car;
storage should be set aside for wheelie bins;
gardens need to be large enough for a family to play in;
houses should be in keeping with the scale and character of the surrounding area.
The list could go on but the principle is there.
A key factor for Gillingham (as for any expanding town) is its infrastructure. This was your biggest concern in our public consultation held mid-year last year. We’d like to feel that as the town grows infrastructure will keep pace.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan covers all of the above and much more. We were commissioned by Gillingham Town Council to do the Plan and we’ve had their staunch support throughout the four –and-half year process to reach this point.
You, the members of the public, have had your say and we’ve done our best to incorporate what you said to us, so that the Plan can be submitted to North Dorset District Council. With the District Council’s assistance an Independent Examiner will be appointed, whose job is to assess that the ‘Basic Conditions’ of doing a Plan have been fulfilled and to highlight, discuss and make a ruling in the case of any inconsistencies.
The final stage is for a referendum date to be set so that residents of the Parish of Gillingham may vote on the question: Do you want North Dorset District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Gillingham to help the District Council in making its planning decisions?
If you think that the Plan has a role to play in the vision for Gillingham we hope that you will turn out in large numbers and vote yes. All that is needed is a majority in favour for the Plan to be adopted by the District Council as a supplementary planning document with significant importance for Gillingham’s future.