April 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
St Neots has spoken and the results are in following a survey which could unlock millions of pounds worth of investment for the town.
Councillor Barry Chapman told The Hunts Post that there were “no great surprises” following the Neighbourhood Plan consultation, with a number of strong suggestions identified from hundreds of responses.
Among the changes that residents would like to see was action to tackle traffic congestion in the town centre, including the reopening of Priory Lane to through traffic – it currently is blocked by bollards and a pavement where it meets the high street.
Many have also believe the A428 should be converted into a dual carriageway – something Jonathan Djanogly MP and The Hunts Post are campaigning for.
The selection of shops – particularly clothing stores – has been highlighted as a problem area, and many have said that the Market Square needs aesthetic improvements.
A significant number of respondents has also expressed a need for progress in the plan to build a new swimming pool adjoining the bowling alley in Huntingdon Road.
Residents also praised the large-scale events that have taken place in St Neots, such as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Christmas lights switch-on celebrations, and have said that they would like to see more.
Cllr Chapman said: “Parks have come out very strong as being something that people are very proud of. Probably of those that responded about a third mentioned that they can’t wait for the cinema to open.
“The majority of comments that have been made are quite positive towards the town.”
The council is collating information to help it create a strategy for the future development, regeneration and conservation of St Neots.
A formal six-week public consultation will be held from early February to mid March, where residents will be able to view the draft plan on the website or at the town council offices. They will also be taking the document on a roadshow where it will be exhibitied at various venues in the town.
Once the Neighbourhood Plan is put in place, it will give the town greater access to funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy – money paid by developers of new homes. St Neots could get up to 25 per cent of the funds – up from 15 per cent.
When the plan has been completed – the target of which is April next year – it will be submitted to Huntingdonshire District Council and then subjected to an independent examination. This will be followed by a public referendum with a requirement for more than 50 per cent of participants to vote in favour before the plan can be brought into force.
INFORMATION: The council have urged residents to continue to pass on their views. Go to www.stneots-tc.gov.uk/neighbourhood-plan for more information.