COLUMN: Richard Bacon – ‘I urge residents to use their neighbourhood plans to ensure greater control on development’

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk.
Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk.

Diss Express readers will know that I have, on many occasions, praised those towns and villages in my constituency that have opted to draw up a neighbourhood plan.

I am very pleased that Dickleburgh and Rushall have taken the first steps towards their own plan and I have written to the chairman of the parish council to offer whatever assistance I can.

I urge residents in both Dickleburgh and Rushall to use their neighbourhood plan to ensure they have greater control over growth in their villages and safeguard the benefits for their communities

Neighbourhood plans are not perfect, but they do give residents more say over how their community should grow, rather than having such decisions foisted on them by district and county councils.

Why do residents often say “No more houses here” while even their own children and grandchildren can’t afford somewhere to live? Because they rightly suspect the quality of what’s coming.

Good development means giving local people more say over what is built, where it is built, what it looks like and who gets first chance to live there.

Neighbourhood Plans should provide answers to questions such as: “What does our community need?” and “How can my children and grandchildren stay in the village they grew up in?”

I urge residents in both Dickleburgh and Rushall to use their neighbourhood plan to ensure they have greater control over growth in their villages and safeguard the benefits for their communities.

ROYDON DISS-PUTE

Readers will know that South Norfolk Council is reviewing the borders of every parish in the district and proposing changes to some boundaries where thought necessary.

As part of that process, the council is proposing that some streets currently within Roydon parish should become part of an enlarged parish of Diss.

While this may seem sensible looking at a map of the area, this change will obviously impact on the council tax precepts of the residents moving parishes and, ultimately, on the overall budgets of both local councils.

As the local MP, I have no formal or statutory role in this matter. I will, however, ensure that the concerns of my constituents inform South Norfolk Council’s deliberations.

REMEMBRANCE

My next column in your Diss Express will be published after Remembrance Sunday, so I wanted to close this month by saying a few words in advance.

This November marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Third Battle of Ypres, better known by the name of the village where the battle ended: Passchendaele.

November also marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second Battle of El Alamein, a key turning point in both the North Africa campaign and in the Second World War more generally.

Passchendaele is a byword for the horror of conflict; El Alamein has come to represent the turning of the tide, the kindling of hope despite the darkness around us.

On Remembrance Sunday, we honour the sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors and airman who fought for freedom and, through the horror they endured, brought hope for a better world.

We will remember them.