TOWNSPEOPLE in Arundel have become the first in Sussex to approve their neighbourhood plan – giving them a say in some of the crucial decisions made in the town.
On Tuesday (April 8), voters emphatically voted in favour of adopting the new neighbourhood plan in the first yes/no referendum of its kind in the county.
In total, 631 voted in favour of the plan, while just 67 voted against, with voter turn-out 26.6 per cent.
The plan is also one of the first in the country to cover two planning authorities, Arun District Council and the South Downs National Park Authority.
James Stewart, chairman of the steering group which drafted the neighbourhood plan, said: “The high yes vote is a real endorsement for the plan, which means the policies we have put in, not just for housing but also the town centre, transport and access and the local economy, can now be taken forward.”
More than two years in the drafting, the plan sets out a wide range of policies to protect and enhance the town for its residents, businesses and visitors.
Vulnerable green spaces, such as Horses Field, have also been protected in the plan, meaning it now cannot be developed on within the next 15 years.
Sites for new homes were a key part of the plan, but other important issues included transport and parking, valued community assets, tourism, moves to defend and improve the town’s shopping centre, as well as flood defences and open spaces.
The plan is also encouraging people to use their cars less and walk and cycle more by proposing new cycle ways and footpaths.
Another central issue in the neighbourhood plan is to reduce the ratio of retail units not used as shops in Arundel in a bid to improve the town’s retail offering.
For the full story, see this week’s Littlehampton Gazette (Thursday, April 10).