Backwell plans for future

A North Somerset village is to be one of the first communities in the country to create its own Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Backwell has been chosen to be a front runner in the scheme, which shifts responsibility from central government to communities, after the government’s Localism Act became law.

The plan, to be called Backwell Future, is being managed by the parish council, and sets out a draft intention and time scale, with the aim of holding a referendum on the proposals in late 2012.

It is mostly based on the 2010 Backwell Community Plan and has to include as many if not more of the development proposals in North Somerset Council’s Core Strategy.

A leaflet explaining the change is being distributed to all households in the village.

It reads: “Under the leadership of Backwell Parish Council we have a golden opportunity to influence the future of our village for the next fifteen years.

“It means that communities like ours will have a much stronger voice, and a greater influence on development plans than ever before.”

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Council chairman Bob Taylor said: “We have set up a steering group to consider all the issues and opportunities for the village and make a neighbourhood plan that will gain the support of a majority of residents.”

The plan lists four key areas; community engagement and consultation, transport and highways, housing and light industry and village services and quality of life.

Discussing the plan at a recent council meeting, Chris Perry, chairman of the steering group, said they would be looking at a ‘modest amount of development, taking into account local needs’.