At our Club Zoom online meeting on 16 September, our own member Town Cllr Malcolm Watkins spoke about the Carnforth Neighbourhood Plan. Malcolm is a member of Carnforth Town Council and a former mayor. The host for the evening was Past District Governor Larry Branyan who is the current Mayor of Carnforth.
Malcolm began by telling us what responsibilities the Town Council had presently. These were limited in the main to commenting on Planning applications, responsibility for the Civic Hall and Crag Bank Village Hall, two bus shelters, administering the Community Benefit Fund and organising celebrations and events. Our Government policy is to devolve more of the decision making locally, The purpose of neighbourhood planning is to give local people and businesses a much greater say in how the places they live and work should change and develop over time.
Neighbourhood planning is designed to give local people a real voice in shaping the look and feel of an area. Carnforth was formally designated as an area for neighbourhood planning purposes in April 2018. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has surveyed, spoken to and listened to members of the community, and has used the issues and opportunities raised during that process to outline the polices and projects presented in the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
Malcolm spoke about the need for improving air quality in the town by rearranging traffic flow, providing enhanced walking and cycling routes, sustainable transport including provisions for electric powered vehicles within the area. The plan identifies the need for affordable homes with all housing types built to approved design guides. All of these measures were considered necessary in view of the planned increase in housing supply in the town. Malcolm showed the locations of green spaces on maps which should be preserved and not used for building developments.
The plan is now in its final stages prior to approval by Lancaster City Council and a referendum where local residents will vote to formally adopt the plan.
Members appreciated Malcolm’s presentation and recognised the large amount of time and effort spent by the Town Council in preparing the plan.
The plan currently has 60 pages and is available online to view or download from: