More on the Localism Bill and St James
The Government’s proposed Localism Bill is being considered in Parliament and is expected to become law in early 2012. A key proposal is to enable local communities to have more of a say and influence on future development in their areas.
This would be achieved through Neighbourhood Plans. Once accepted as being in line with government and local authority planning policies, a Neighbourhood Plan would become an important consideration in planning and would help communities, groups and businesses plan for new jobs, economic growth, regeneration and other local initiatives.
The Localism Bill states that Neighbourhood Plans will be developed and supported by the community.
Exeter St James Forum has been formed with the support of a broad range of interests in the ward. We have asked for and received support from our residents and elected councillors to go ahead with the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.
Reasons for a Neighbourhood Plan for St James
The ward is well-placed for access to the city centre, the University Streatham campus and main line railway stations. It is attractive to students, long term residents and, more recently, new business opportunities. We need a Plan with a clear vision to ensure that future development and social changes benefit the people who live and work here.
The rapid expansion in student numbers in recent years has led to an increase in Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) and concerns about loss of residential balance in the community. A restriction on HMOs is now in place. Students are being encouraged to have a positive role in the community and, now, in the Forum.
- Purpose-built student accommodation and integration into the community
- Plans for the refurbishment of Exeter City Football Club.
- Redevelopment of former Debenhams building by John Lewis Partnership
The Localism Bill and Neighbourhood Plan provide an opportunity to identify community assets for protection and enhancement. For St James, the Plan is also an opportunity for residents to work together and with others interested in the future of the ward – the councils, businesses and voluntary organisations.