We are now taking the final steps to create the Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan. This stage will last about six months and will culminate in a referendum, when all Exmouth residents on the electoral register can cast their vote. In September the public consultation at The Ocean gave the opportunity to probe into the work done by the Steering Group in the previous18 months to pull together ideas on how the people of Exmouth want the town to develop up to 2031. In that year a revised Neighbourhood Plan will need to be produced, at the same time as a new East Devon Local Plan is due to be published. Before the event held at The Ocean on 19th September a 64-page consultation document, which included 14 maps, had been made available in advance: on-line and in print. We also released on-line and showed at various occasions a video. This focussed on the qualities and challenges of Exmouth and explained how the Neighbourhood Plan would set a vision for the town. You can still view this on www.exmouthneighbourhoodplan.uk There were 3500 visits to the website in September. Social media has also given - and still offers – through Facebook the chance for commentary and on-line conversations about points of interest or concern. There were six chapters in the Consultation Document on the themes which surveys and discussions had identified as the most important: Natural Environment; Built Environment; Economy and Employment; Housing; Getting About; Community Facilities. Each chapter had policy proposals and action points, drafted to achieve the objectives presented. Almost 400 people attended the event and engaged in lively discussion. Many completed a form giving their comments on the consultation document, others went on-line before 30 September to comment. This was an opportunity for engagement not normally offered to communities in advance of the statutory consultation process. It was considered necessary in Exmouth because of the size and complexity of the town, compared to most of the places which have produced neighbourhood plans. It was also a response to the level of interest in the issues. In brief, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group was saying to Exmouth residents: “This is what we believe you have been saying to us about your town and its future, have we got it right”? Some 200 comment forms were received with almost 2,000 comments. All comments have been considered and many will be in the next version of the Plan. About 80 forms did not raise issues for consideration. Many nicely expressed appreciation and approval. Others raised points which were covered in the consultation document or were outside the remit of the Neighbourhood Plan, as they were against items in the Local Plan or plans already approved. By early next year the formal processes will be underway with statutory consultees, such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England. East Devon District Council will then ensure that our proposals are legally sound. This is called the Pre-Submission Consultation. It offers the last opportunity for residents to make any further comments before an independent examiner decides whether the Plan is ready to be put to Exmouth residents for the final say in a referendum. Your interest and support are appreciated. Please sustain them for the next few months, so that Exmouth can enjoy a coherent and effective Plan designed by the community. EXMOUTH NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN STEERING GROUP 44 Rolle Street, Exmouth, EX8 2SH T: 01395 276167 E: npsg@exmouth.gov.uk: W: www.exmouthneighbourhoodplan.uk/ Facebook: exmouthneighbourhoodplan
NB: This is the text from the letter - the PDF of the original can be downloaded here

Screen shot from the video….

© Exmouth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group website: Rob Masding