Residents look set to take the lead in deciding the future of a key part of Blackpool. Following consultation, people living on Marton Moss have opted to take key decision-making for the area into their own hands.
They have chosen to set up a neighbourhood forum to oversee the preparation of a neighbourhood plan for the Moss. A vote conducted by Blackpool Council has found 55 per cent of respondents said the community should prepare its own neighbourhood plan, compared to 45 per cent who wanted the council to take the lead.
The new set-up would take control of which sites in the area are allocated for development, and which are protected. This would then be absorbed into the town’s Local Plan, being prepared by town hall planning officers, and which sets out development policies for the next few years.
Over recent years parts of the Moss have been granted planning permission for hundreds of new houses to be built prompting concerns about the long term future of the area. A report which is due to go before the council’s executive committee today says future planning policies identify “the remaining lands at Marton Moss as being integral to the local distinctiveness of Blackpool and highly valued by the local community.” It adds that adopting a neighbourhood planning approach would enable “the local community to develop a shared vision and to shape and direct development which recognises and appropriately responds to this distinctive character.”
If the executive approves the move, the next step is to hold an information workshop and set up the neighbourhood forum which must have at least 21 members who live or work in the area. The forum, which would appoint its own chairman, could apply for government grants to help its work, for example to employ a consultant to help in developing the neighbourhood plan. The report adds: “It is hoped this workshop will bring together all those that are keen to be involved in preparing a neighbourhood plan and provide the catalyst for the setting up of a neighbourhood forum.”
Original article in The Blackpool Evening Gazette, see here.