Action pledge after Harleston town plan consultation

Leaders in Harleston have pledged to act on the views of residents following the completion of a town plan project.

Harleston Town Council has promised to deliver some quick wins after more than 500 people had their say on the future of the market town.

Councillors have agreed to form a new action management group and task groups to oversee improvements to the town following the work of volunteers from the Have Your Say group, which coordinated the consultation with the support of the Norfolk Rural Community Council.

The findings from a questionnaire have already been used to formulate the town council's response to proposals for the future growth of south Norfolk with residents demanding more jobs before any new housing is built. More than 60pc of respondents said that proposals for 300 new homes in the town over the next 15 years were 'unacceptable'.

Other policies suggested include proposals to make Harleston high street a plastic bag free zone, retain free car parking, and create a community woodland.

Sue Kuzmic, chairman of Harleston Town Council, said the Have Your Say group has done a 'phenomenal job' in getting local people involved in the town plan consultation.

'It has been really good and the response was better than we thought. We do not want it to gather dust on the shelf; it is a document we are going to use and we are already using it for our response to the Greater Norwich Development Partnership plans.

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'In three or four months, we want to get some short-term things done. There are things that will happen very quickly and others we will lay down policies for the future.

'No one wants to stand still. We want the town to grow, but with the jobs and infrastructure and drainage issues dealt with before we grow,' she said.

Ian Carstairs, chairman of the Have Your Say steering group, added that the volunteers were keen to help the council deliver the town plan vision.

'I think it is a very good example of how a community, if it is focused and considered in what it does can actually achieve a huge amount. It has been a very interesting exercise and it is quite clear that the people of Harleston are really comfortable with their community,' he said.