‘Defining moment’ for Kessingland as neighbourhood plan approved
- Credit: Mike Page
A blueprint which outlines how one of the region's most popular tourist destinations will grow over the next 20 years has been officially enshrined into law.
Kessingland residents decided to create their own neighbourhood plan after concerns young people were leaving to take up job opportunities and cheaper homes elsewhere.
A neighbourhood planning team therefore came up with long-term vision for three areas of new housing development, including one which would be kept exclusively for those with a connection to the village in order to encourage them to stay.
It also included plans for a new children's centre built by East Coast Community Healthcare, along with a new 60-bed care home - both of which were approved by Waveney District Council's planning committee in 2016.
A referendum in Kessingland in November 2016 voted for the plan by a landslide, with 957 voting for and 103 against – a majority of 89pc. The turnout was 27pc.
As a result of the public's approval, it was formally approved by Waveney District Council's full council meeting on Thursday, January 25, with a unanimous vote by councillors.
That means it is now a legal document which developers have to take into account when making planning applications.
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Kessingland Parish Council chairman Liam Martin argued that it gives the community much greater control over its future, because developers have to demonstrate how any future applications are in keeping with the neighbourhood plan.
'For the people of Kessingland, this is a defining moment,' he said.
'The community will have more control over its future.'
Waveney District Council deputy leader David Ritchie said the neighbourhood plan working group should be congratulated on an 'exemplar plan'.
In the same meeting that councillors voted on plans for town and parish councils in Lowestoft and Oulton Broad, leader Colin Law said: 'This is a testament to how a good parish council should work.
'They should see Kessingland as a shining example of how it should and can be done.'
Green councillor Graham Elliott added: 'This is a great example of engaging with people and trusting people – you can get the right result.'