Column: Wetherby neighbourhood plan is taking shape

Wetherby is, first and foremost, a traditional market town. 
Picture Mike Cowling.
Wetherby is, first and foremost, a traditional market town. Picture Mike Cowling.

It has been four years since a group of local volunteers started the journey towards developing a Neighbourhood Plan for Wetherby. It has been a long journey and lots of hard work has gone into it.

We are now approaching the final furlong having recently completed a consultation on the first draft of the plan, to which we had a response from 640 households in our town.

The next steps will be to incorporate those responses into the plan before submission to Leeds City Council and ultimately to an inspector for approval. Following that a local referendum will be held on whether or not to adopt it – we are hopeful this will take place early in 2018.

The Neighbourhood Plan will be a vital document that will help to shape the future of Wetherby. We have considered a wide range of issues ranging from the types of new housing the town needs to other issues such as education provision and recreational space.

I know that many local residents have not been happy about the scale of housing that has been proposed in recent years and neither have I or my ward colleagues Cllrs John Procter and Gerald Wilkinson. This is why the neighbourhood plan is so important as it allows strong local input into future development in the town.

It was very pleasing to get such a large response during the consultation and the comments received will be hugely valuable moving forward. It is pleasing to see that such a large number of residents have views on the plan and it can only add to the strength of the document.

It is a priority to make sure that Wetherby has a robust plan for the future and that we can continue to develop whilst also keeping the heritage of the town at the centre of our thoughts, Wetherby is, first and foremost, a traditional market town and we should always be mindful of that as the plan develops.

Lastly I would like to formally put on record my thanks to the volunteers that have stepped forward to help shape this plan, it would not have been possible to do without this contribution and the working group, which has 15 members, has worked extremely well and very effectively over the past 4 years to get where we are today.

I look forward to the next developments as we move towards the local referendum on adoption in 2018.

For further information please visit our website www.wetherbyneighbourhoodplan.wordpress.com and for more general information about the neighbourhood planning in the Leeds area visit Leeds City Council’s website www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Neighbourhood-planning.