Many residents will be aware that Fordingbridge is about to change.
Decisions made as part of the New Forest District Council (NFDC) Local Plan mean that 1500 or so new houses will be built to the North and West of the Town over the next few years.
This may be unwelcome to many but the die is now cast. Formal consultations took place and decisions have now been made and they cannot be overturned.
Particular concerns remain about education, health and social care facilities and employment opportunities. Road safety, road repairs and traffic remain major issues.
Fordingbridge Town Council (FTC) is a small cog in the Government machine and has very limited powers to change things now big decisions have been formalised but with the help of local people we can influence some smaller decisions within the now approved plan.
As part of the development process some money (called the Community Infrastructure Levy – CIL) is available directly in the control of FTC. We want to ensure that the money we control is spent in ways that local residents support and that we with the help of residents influence the way that NFDC spends their larger share. CIL funding can be spent on many things but in the first instance we want to consult with our residents about open spaces.
FTC has just agreed a formal consultation strategy with this in mind.
Consultation is a two-way process. FTC can ask for views but unless residents provide their views nothing is gained.
Some matters are dealt with at District Council level by NFDC (e.g. parking, rubbish collection, planning, trees), others at County Council level by Hampshire County Council (HCC) (e.g. Roads, Education, Social Services, Elderly Care), others by Central Government (e.g. overall house building, many environment issues) and just to confuse things Health has its own separate and un-representative structure led by West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG).
FTC frequently makes representations to these various bodies but has no authority provided by law to make them do things.
If FTC and members of our town community make consistent and frequent representations to these bodies, either directly or through elected representatives (who will listen because they want to be re-elected) we have a better chance of seeing our town develop in ways which local people want with “joined up” facilities and services.
How can we get your views?
Life has become complicated because of Covid-19 and the traditional Town Meeting and Town Hall Exhibition are difficult.
We will go ahead with these approaches if they are allowed under Government guidance. Equally, if local groups start meeting again we will be happy to come and discuss things with them.
However, to get to all residents we are sending out this mail shot to every household in the town so everyone can have their say.
This is a short questionnaire which both seeks your views and gives you an opportunity to offer further involvement.
Please complete this survey by the 30th September, and either pop it through the town hall door, or the Information Office in King’s Yard or email a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can complete this survey online at the FTC website (www.fordingbridge.gov.uk/consult). If you need this survey to be collected please contact our clerk on 01425 654 134.