Column: Everyone wants to be part of the new plan for Gainsborough

The riverside will form part of a path around Gainsborough
The riverside will form part of a path around Gainsborough

I wrote in my January column that a draft neighbourhood plan would be available for the public to comment upon by now.

So why the delay?

The volume of data members of RAGE (Rediscovering A Gainsborough for Everyone) collected last year from the public, organisations in the town, schools and businesses is substantial.

A summary of the group’s consultations with the public can be found on the web site at www.regegainsborough.co.uk

That RAGE has received significant participation is good news as neighbourhood plans must clearly be seen to reflect the wishes local people.

However, the plan document must be presented in a form that will be acceptable to the examiner appointed by HM Planning Inspectorate.

The plan has to demonstrate how the wishes of the people match the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan and other legislation.

To achieve this , RAGE has sourced grants to fund consultants and anyone with experience of securing a grant will know how time consuming that can be.

The consultant RAGE has engaged produced the excellent neighbourhood plan for Horncastle, a Lincolnshire town not dissimilar to Gainsborough.

RAGE has also commissioned a report on green routes through and around Gainsborough.

The suggested proposal is for a circular green route suitable for walking and cycling to encompass the town with the riverside, an important element of the plan, forming the western side of the route.

Green routes within this boundary path have also been identified.

The most effective way of representing various aspects of the plan , like the green routes, is with maps.

It is very easy for maps to become cluttered so we have engaged cartographers with a remit to produce a set of maps that are clear and easily understood.

As I have mentioned before the plan in itself will not be a magic wand and residents concerns will not be solved overnight.

The plan will be a vision for the development of Gainsborough over the next 20 years.

Involving young people has been a key element of consultations.

The amazingly positive responses by children of the town can be viewed at the town council offices from Monday to Friday between 10am and 3pm.

The neighbourhood plan is important for Gainsborough because once it is adopted it forms part of local planning law.