THE Town Council has approved the start on a new neighbourhood plan for Mossley.
It is a way for parish, town councils or neighbourhood groups to shape development in their own area with an estimated 2,000 either adopted or being formulated nationally.
“The neighbourhood plan will make it everyone’s Mossley as we will have agreed it as a community,” explained town councillor Dean Aylett.
The Town Council had been exploring a neighbourhood plan for some time and has sought advice from Saddleworth Parish Council and Leeds City Council about how they went about formulating neighbourhood plans in their communities. At the last meeting of the Town Council, town councillors voted unanimously 8-0 to proceed as a way in which residents and businesses can have a direct say in how their town develops its infrastructure.
A neighbourhood plan would encompass housing, shops and businesses, schools, transport and traffic, healthcare and the environment.
However, its remit can go further than that and not only look at a whole range of concerns, but also new ideas.
Town Council chair Cllr Frank Travis said: “I want people to get behind this. We need to be positive, innovative, but realistic.
“This is not an easy task and there will need to be a lot of co-operation from within our community, but the result could be so good for how we think and act as a whole.
“The process and the plan is not about saying ‘no’ to development, but how we can work with the community, organisations, developers, experts in their own fields, the local planning authority, to achieve a workable plan to take forward that wider vision”.
Helen Jamison, newly elected to the Town Council, added: “This gives us all a real opportunity to not only look at the planning issues, but how we as a community work together on our shared aspirations.
“It will be a challenging piece of work and a good opportunity for the town, though it will not solve all our problems.
“When you look at some of the planning matters at this meeting, it would help us to join some of the dots and give us direction and collective weight.”
Idu Miah, vice chair, was pleased that this was an opportunity for the community to develop a “new shared vision for Mossley”.
The neighbourhood plan will be developed with the local community, then has to be approved by Tameside Council as the local planning authority, before being put to public vote.
On the timescale for the plan, James Hall, another new councillor and with expertise in this area, said: “I know that this will take time and commitment and we will have to learn about how to effectively work together to deliver this as soon as we can. It has real potential and I know that the work can really pay off.”
There will be five key stages: designating the area, preparing the plan, an independent examination, community referendum and adopting the plan.
It is expected unlikely the plan will be completed for at least two years with many others taking between three and four years.
The Town Council will get ongoing support and expert advice from Tameside Council and grants are available to help fund the neighbourhood plan.