ANCIENT Arundel is set to make modern-day history by taking more control of its future.
Voters go to the polls next month in the first referendum of its kind in Sussex, on the neighbourhood plan drawn up by the community, for the community.
The plan, more than two years in the drafting, sets out a wide range of policies to protect and enhance the town for its residents, businesses and visitors.
Sites for new homes are likely to attract keen interest, but other important issues include transport and parking, valued community assets, tourism, moves to defend and improve the town’s shopping centre, flood defences and open spaces.
Having been through several stages of consultation and revision, the document was last month approved, with some modifications, by an independent examiner, paving the way for it to go to referendum on Tuesday, April 8. Townspeople will be asked: “Do you want Arun District Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Arundel to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”
Mayor Michael Tu wants to see a high turnout on the day. He said: “The Arundel neighbourhood plan which goes to referendum on April 8 will help preserve our town for the foreseeable future, control development and protect community assets and local green space. We hope as many people as possible turnout to vote at the referendum.”
James Stewart, founder and director of the Zimmer Stewart Gallery in Tarrant Street, and deputy chairman of Arundel Chamber of Commerce, is the chairman of the neighbourhood plan’s steering group, which piloted the project through its various stages.
He said: “The views of local residents have formed the Arundel neighbourhood development plan from the start, and this was highlighted in the examiner’s report. Based on this, we now feel confident that the submitted version is one that the majority of residents in Arundel can support at the referendum.”
If the town supports the plan in the vote, it will then be included in Arun’s local plan as a strong framework guiding Arundel’s development right up to 2029.
Polling stations open from 7am-10pm on referendum day. Copies of the plan documents can be seen at Arundel Town Hall, Arundel Library and Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton, and online at www.arun.gov.uk