Referendum called on Fishwick and St Matthew’s local plan

Posted on - 17th October, 2014 - 9:00am | Author - | Posted in - Fishwick, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment, St Matthews
The Acregate is to be classed as a community asset

The Acregate is to be classed as a community asset Pic: Paul Melling

A referendum is to be held in 2015 in two areas of Preston as residents vote on its future.

Fishwick and St Matthew’s are to go to the polls to vote on the Inner East Preston Neighbourhood Plan.

Following extensive public consultation the Friends of Fishwick and St Matthew’s group saw their plan approved by a full meeting of Preston City Council.

The plan includes:

– Boosting retail on the likes of New Hall Lane by ensuring A1 retail use does not fall below 55 per cent for New Hall Lane and 45 per cent for Ribbleton Lane. New or renovated shops are to be required to have high quality shop fronts.

– Protecting green spaces. Any existing green spaces in the area are to be protected from any development, such as Mercer Street Gardens.

– Two underused business sites at Harrison’s Bakery and Maitland Mill are to be promoted as places for new businesses to flourish

– Buildings classed as community assets are to be promoted, such as pubs like the Hesketh Arms, Ribbleton Avenue Community Centre and charity Emmaus on Ribbleton Lane

The Friends group has been awarded £1 million by the Big Local Fund to help regenerate the area.

John Rochford, local resident, and the Chair of the Friends of Fishwick and St. Matthews said: “Creating the the Inner East Preston Neighbourhood Plan has been an amazing journey and it’s fantastic to see it go before Preston Council. Following two and a half years of work involving extensive consultation and tackling complex planning legislation it is great to see the council consider our submission.

“We are very grateful to Preston Council Planning department and the Community Engagement team for their support during this process. We have also benefitted greatly from the advice and support of members of the charity Planning Aid England.

“The Fishwick and St. Matthews Neighbourhood Forum has attracted much attention from DCLG who are responsible for the legislation governing this new community right and from within the whole Neighbourhood Planning sphere. The document is being held up as an example of good practice for urban planning and we are regularly asked to support other areas now developing their own neighbourhood plans.

“The plan will hopefully become a statutory document early next year and will fully represent the views of the local community. Residents have told us they want to protect and enhance local community facilities, greenspace, employment sites and the shopping areas.

“The Neighbourhood Plan will give the community more control over developments within Fishwick and St. Matthews and form the basis for improvements to the quality of life in this inner urban area.”

An independent examination of the plan by community regeneration expert Dr Angus Kennedy OBE endorsed the proposal.

He said: “I would like to congratulate the Friends of Fishwick and St Matthews for the considerable amount of work that they have undertaken to produce the Inner East Preston Neighbourhood Plan.

“It is particularly pleasing to see communities in inner city locations taking up the challenge of producing Neighbourhood Plans. The FOFS recognise that the Neighbourhood Plan will not solve all of the problems that face the residents in the area. The Plan demonstrates, however, the clear vision and aspiration of the community to improve both the physical environment and the life chances of the residents.”

The referendum question is to be “Do you want Preston City Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Inner East Preston to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

More than 50 per cent of those turning out to vote must vote yes for it to be adopted.

You can view the draft full Neighbourhood Plan for East Preston on the city council website and also read the independent examiner’s report

What do you think of the plan? Live in the area? Will you be voting? Let us know in the comments below

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