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Residents use new planning powers to shape the future of Hackbridge 14.11.11

Residents in Hackbridge can take the first steps to exercise new powers they have been granted to shape the area where they live at a special event this weekend.

The Government has selected Hackbridge as a pilot area for a pioneering new scheme which will encourage local people to have a greater say over planning issues.

Through the Neighbourhood Planning Front Runner scheme local people will be able to determine everything from the location of shops, offices and schools to setting standards of design for new housing.

Hackbridge is one of just 17 communities – a mix of cities, urban and rural areas – across the country to be picked for the first wave of the pilot, which is being introduced through the Government's Localism Bill.

A workshop, organised by a group of local residents spearheading the scheme, is planned for Saturday 19 November.

Two sessions will be held. The first will start at All Saints' Church at 9.30am and will involve a series of fact finding walks around Hackbridge and Beddington Corner, before returning to the church for a discussion on the findings. After lunch, a second session at 1.30pm, using the 'One Planet Living' themes, will discuss and pull together comments from local residents and businesses to form a 'vision statement' and next steps.

Helena Barrowclough, of Hackbridge and Beddington Corner Neighbourhood Development Group, which is compiling the plan, said: "This is a great opportunity for the residents and businesses based in Hackbridge to influence the future in terms of how Hackbridge develops over the next few years, including engaging with developers as they put forward plans for various projects.

"The workshop will build on previous initiatives, including Hackbridge Week and the Hackbridge Masterplan, providing an opportunity to review previous work.

"Residents old and new are all welcome to attend. Their input will be vital to ensure that work on the Neighbourhood Plan is inclusive and gains the support of residents and businesses, prior to submission to Sutton Council, to form part of all applications for planning in Hackbridge.

Cllr Jayne McCoy, Sutton Council's Executive Member for Planning, Economic Development and Housing, said: "This is an opportunity for residents in Hackbridge to get involved in shaping the future of their area. There's a long history of community involvement in the area, and this exciting project builds on that giving local people even more ways to get involved.

"Sutton is one of only two councils in London involved in first wave of this major new initiative, which could shape the future of planning across the country, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what the residents come up with and working with them to make their vision come to life."

The Department for Communities and Local Government was impressed by the community's involvement in the draft plan which formed the Hackbridge bid, which included the development of more than 1,000 new homes, a new district shopping centre along with new schooling and healthcare facilities.

Each local authority in the pilot areas has been given £20,000 to help facilitate the process and the development of plans which must comply with national planning policy, law and local strategy.

Last updated: Monday, 19 December 2011

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