Guest column: A step forward for the town masterplan

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

This year will hopefully be one that sees the Gainsborough Neighbourhood Plan be adopted and in doing so become part of local planning law.

It is hoped that a draft plan will be available for comment in the next two to three months with a referendum on a final plan taking place towards the end of the year.

I was particularly impressed with the work of local school children who came together in December for a meeting at West Lindsey Council.

Their input into the plan and the way they presented their findings would put many adults to shame.

Such was the success of the meeting, it is hoped that the event can be repeated annually to give a voice to our local schoolchildren on matters concerning their town.

I would like to express my thanks to the children and the many local schools who took part.

Towards the end of last year we published a summary of the consultation carried out to date.

This document is available on our website www.ragegainsborough.co.uk.

The document demonstrated amongst other things, public concerns over the demise of the town centre, alongside a clear wish for local people to see the town make its riverside a vibrant mixed-use destination.

Housing growth in the town is not opposed but people are keen to ensure that appropriate jobs and infrastructure are there to support the growth.

The plan in itself will not be a magic wand and the concerns of the local public will not be rectified overnight.

The plan itself will cover a 20-year period.

And when I think back at how Gainsborough was 20 years ago and the progress that has been made in that period, if similar progress can be made in the next 20 years, with the plan itself providing publicly supported policy and guidance to developers, I hope the town will be nearing being a place that local people long for.

What I have found during extensive discussions with local public people is that even the most hardened of complainers are, at heart, proud Gainsborough people and only want the best for their town.

Our current efforts are focused on consulting with local businesses.

If you are a local business and would like to share your views please do make contact with us.

Our contact details are available from our website www.ragegainsborough.co.uk