Guest column: A neighbourhood plan for Gainsborough by the people of Gainsborough

Michael Hopper, chairman of RAGE in Gainsborough
Michael Hopper, chairman of RAGE in Gainsborough

Some Gainsborough residents have recently come together in an effort to produce a ‘neighbourhood plan’.

Ok I can hear you groan, oh not another plan.

This one, however, is different.

It is not written by council planners and approved by politicians.

Neighbourhood plans are written by the townsfolk and is the consensus of the residents for how we want the town to grow.

Some readers may recall that Gainsborough Town Council published a town plan following extensive consultation with residents, including children both at primary and secondary schools

It is, after all, the youngsters of today who will live with any plan tomorrow.

The development of a neighbourhood plan is the next step.

Unlike the town plan the content of a neighbourhood plan is determined by residents.

To be effective it needs everyone to be involved and have their say.

Once approved by a referendum of residents, the neighbourhood plan forms a significant part of the planning policies for Gainsborough.

Developers large and small will only get planning permission for their proposals if they accord with these policies.

The Gainsborough neighbourhood plan project is called RAGE, a name that reflects the mood felt by some folks towards planning decisions made in Gainsborough in the past.

The demolition of Gainsborough Central Station back in 1977 when it was already a listed building and more recently the construction of the KFC building in a conservation area are just two examples of planning decisions that have generated strong feeling locally.

In reality the group’s name stands for Rediscovering A Gainsborough for Everyone.

We hope that by reflecting the actual views of Gainsborough folk the plan can help to shape Gainsborough in a way that is supported by the community.

RAGE recognises that views of local people have not always been taken into account.

The group is therefore keen to use new legislation to give Gainsborough folk the opportunity to decide how they wish to see the town develop.

RAGE will launch the first stage of its public consultation this weekend at the Gainsborough Town Council Community and Armed Forces Day at Marshall’s Sports Ground on Saturday, June 10.

Come along and meet us and hear how other communities have shaped and protected their towns and villages with a neighbourhood plan.

Tell us what you think should shape the future for Gainsborough.

For further information visit our website at www.ragegainsborough.co.uk.

Alternatively, follow us on our Facebook page Rediscovering A Gainsborough for Everyone, or Tweet us at @ragegains