Do you care about the future of Sturminster Newton?

The draft of the Sturminster Newton Neighbourhood Plan is now available for everyone in the parish and surrounding parishes to read and comment on before it goes to North Dorset District Council for them to take it through to a referendum.

The team of volunteers who produced the plan say it’s vital we make sure it protects the things we feel are important, and that any future developments in the parish meet our needs and are of good quality.

The plan is a large document because it addresses the different areas of the parish in their own sections to make sure they reflect the character of these areas.

Feedback so far indicates it is proving tough for people to review.

The team are very keen to hear your thoughts on the content before the consultation finishes on 6th January and have prepared a set of Questions and Answers to help you:

Q: Do I need to read the whole document?

A: Only if you have the time and interest in all the sections. It’s of huge value to us even if you only have time to read and comment on the section relevant to where you live.

Q: We’ve been to other exhibitions before on this plan. What’s different this time?

A: The other exhibitions allowed us to understand the planning issues facing the town and to test ideas and policies to meet its long-term needs. This consultation is on the finished result. We need you to say if we’ve got it right.

Q: What happens if I don’t bother this time?

A: If it goes to referendum and there are policies in it that significant groups of people disagree with, it could be rejected and completely discarded leaving the town exposed.

Q: What if we don’t have a Neighbourhood Plan?

A: Without it, the type, design and location of development we get may be against local wishes and may not meet the needs of our community.

Q: I’ve been told the proposal for the town centre in the Unity Article in the summer is going to happen. I’m worried about this, is this true?

A: The images were an artist’s impression. The intention is to guide any future development to achieve a high quality consistent design and an open space. Any design would need to be worked on with the owners when they are ready and subject to normal planning consultation.

Q: How do I review it?

A: You can read the document and answer the questionnaire on line at http://www.sturminsternewtonplan.com or drop in to the Town Council, the Library or the SturQuest office to read a paper version.

Q: What if I need some help or would like to talk to someone?

A: Come along to one of the remaining drop in sessions at the café at the Exchange from 10am till noon on Saturdays 3rd, 10th and 17th December.