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Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan

An Action Plan is not just a wish list of aspirations; it is a mechanism for positioning our community to take advantage of whatever opportunities present themselves and ensuring that when further significant growth takes place, it is growth on our terms, managed by the community and conforming to our clearly articulated vision.

At our initiative, with the full support of Gillingham Town Council, a Steering Group, chaired by Tim Rose, did a considerable amount of work establishing the groundwork of a Town Plan.

Simultaneously, David Beaton was chairing an extremely focused, committed and capable group working on a Design Statement for Gillingham. The final document, a superb piece of work, has been adopted by the District Council, ensuring that it will influence future development in the town.

Under the new Localism legislation, communities are given the right to produce Neighbourhood Plans, which if adopted locally through a referendum, become mandatory for Local Authorities to enforce. There is, however, a presumption in favour of development, and Neighbourhood Plans must conform to both national planning policy and the strategic vision set out by the local planning authority.

Our Gillingham Town Plan and Design Statement groups have merged and are in the process of developing a Neighbourhood Plan, incorporating the Town Design Statement and the wider aspects of the Town Plan. In getting to grips with the technical complexities of the legislation we have been fortunate to have unique professional help from the North Dorset Planning Policy Officers and ATLAS, the Advisory Team for Large Applications, part of the a branch of the Department for Communities and Local Government, which is supporting NDDC and the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan Group, particularly in relation to the proposed Gillingham Southern Extension. With their help and the support of Gillingham Town Council, the Gillingham Neighbourhood Plan Group has been accepted as part of a national Frontrunners Scheme and has secured £20k funding.

GNPG has also been fortunate to win funding to support a related Arts Project, which has been carried out by a London-based Consultancy, We Made That.

There have already been a number of awareness raising and engagement events. Progress can be followed on Facebook and via its web site: http://www.gillinghamplan.co.uk

Three Rivers is anxious to ensure that neighbouring parishes are kept informed about progress in Gillingham and have every opportunity to contribute to the process. A meeting held in January was very well attended and indicated a high level of interest. We intend to ensure that the interests of neighbouring parishes are taken into account in our work and hope to be able to offer support and advice to neighbours, based on what we learn from being a Frontrunner.