Have you heard about the Belper Neighbourhood Plan? For those of you who have not it’s a plan which will affect the future of Belper and its surrounding areas and how they develop over the next ten to 15 years.
Importantly, it is up to the community to decide the outcome.
The plan covers seven main themes: Community and leisure, built environment and housing, local economy and employment, culture and heritage, parks and green open spaces, transport and travel and infrastructure.
It is evidence based and would have to have the majority support of those who live and work in the area before it can be approved.
It means Amber Valley Borough Council will have a legal duty to take into account the policies the area has approved when examining planning applications that affect Belper.
It is also an opportunity for the local community to identify the goals and aspirations for the town and create a vision for its future.
This is not a central government initiative rather a local plan being led by a steering committee of volunteers and they need your help to make sure it contains the ideas and aspirations from as many local people as possible. After all, they are the ones who will be living with it if approved in a referendum next May.
I am firmly behind the Belper Neighbourhood Plan and can think of no better people to decide the future of the town than the people who live in Belper and the businesses that operate here. What I would love to see is the whole community support it and participate in the consultation currently taking place on the plan.
The steering committee deserve much credit for the effort they have put into getting the idea off the ground and developing an initial plan.
They are doing it voluntarily, giving up their time to drive this key project forward to the consultation.
This is a fantastic opportunity to have your say and if you think you have expertise in any of the areas the plan focuses on volunteers to get involved helping shape the ideas that go into it.
I would also like to see our local councillors engaging with it and talking to the volunteers because they clearly have plans for the area which could be included. Though their efforts so far have been outstanding it cannot just be left to the few volunteers to do all the work.
It is key everyone takes the time to look at the plan online. It is available at: http://www.planforbelper.org.uk/ with more background of the plan and what it hopes to achieve.
The history and heritage of Belper is spectacular as exemplified by the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site.
It is an area with so much character, an award winning high street and local features everyone is rightly proud of.
If you want to ensure that excellence is preserved whilst the challenges the area will face in the future are met, take part in the consultation and have your say.
This is the most direct opportunity you have to determine Belper’s future in the decades ahead.