Residents in Diss and neighbouring parishes urged to have their say
People in Diss and the surrounding parishes are being urged to give their views on how the district should develop.
The call-to-arms comes after only 350 people responded to a survey on the future of seven parishes, called Draft Vision and Themes, with a closing date of March 16.
Some 6,800 information booklets were delivered to homes and businesses and the survey is also available online.
The consultation is needed to validate the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan – a document which will detail how and where the district should grow.
The neighbourhood plan covers development in Diss, Burston and Shimpling, Roydon, Scole, Brome and Oakley, Palgrave, Stuston.
This will then be submitted to South Norfolk Council and Mid Suffolk District Council to complement their broader local plan, which governs regional development, in the face of national planning policies.
“It is very disappointing that people haven’t taken this opportunity to get something done about their concerns, and about which they complain, especially when the opportunity has been delivered to their doorstep, and only takes around 30 seconds online to complete,” said Mike Bootman, chairman of the neighbourhood plan steering group.
“The steering group needs to know if people agree with the direction it suggests, as well as gathering replies from those who may have any concerns or alternative ideas.
“It is a community-led plan that will shape the future of the Diss area and everyone is being offered choices about the way it could develop.
“If people don’t make the most of this chance, then they might be over-ruled by a vocal minority with different ideas.
“The more people who respond supporting our ideas, the more the district and county councils, NHS and other bodies will have to really listen to us and work with us to realise the ambitions.
“We also need this feedback to ensure our neighbourhood plan is validated through the local consultation.”
The draft vision consultation document has been open to comment from mid-February.
Opinions are sought from residents, businesses, landowners and statutory bodies on issues such as housing, business and employment, shopping, local identity and digital connectivity.
It covers topics of community, leisure and wellbeing, environment, heritage and landscape.
Graham Moore, Scole Parish Council chairman, said: “Since 2005, when I became chairman, we have engaged with the local community on several occasions.
“The items brought up are as valid today, so it is imperative that our parishioners let us know that we are still on the right track.
“The A1066 and the lack of a proper village centre were at the forefront of the responses, so I am hopeful that, with a positive outcome of this consultation, we will be able to deliver on some, if not all, of our community’s wishes.”
Paul Curson, chairman of Roydon Parish Council, said: “We are encouraging our community to respond to the proposals put forward by direct contact, the written word and social media.
“We need to have as many responses as possible to know that all issues of concern for the future are addressed.
“This is everyone’s chance to have their say, so do not let this opportunity pass by. Respond today, please, to determine the future of our community.”
The full consultation and survey has a Freepost reply envelope.