Long Melford residents have given their thoughts on what shape the village should take in the future, in the first major consultation into a neighbourhood plan.
A pair of open day events were held in the village hall on Tuesday to outline the basic ideas for Long Melford’s future developments in housing, roads, business, leisure, education, health and the environment.
Villagers covered stands in notes with their views on each issue, while pupils from Long Melford Primary School also created displays expressing their own ideas.
Graham Eade, chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan committee on Long Melford Parish Council, said joined-up thinking between each aspect of development was key to producing the plan, and he hoped the consultation would help the council gauge what local people are most concerned about, then set up working groups.
“It’s no good just looking at traffic as it is now,” he said. “If there are more houses, there’s more people and more cars.
“We have got to accept housing. If you don’t have it, the village will die.
“The question is how we have the housing. Do we have big estates? Do you build on brownfield sites?
“What we are trying to do is work it out 10 to 15 years from now. We have to think to the future.”
He also praised the schoolchildren for engaging with the process, saying it was important for them to have a say as many of them will remain part of the village as they get older.
Amanda Woolmer, headteacher at Long Melford Primary School, said each year group had discussed the neighbourhood plan, and the students attending the open day would be making a presentation to show to the rest of the school.
“Some children say they want more housing so that, when they grow up, they have houses to move into,” she said.
“They have a lot of varied ideas. They are very interested in how Long Melford will look in the future.”
John Nunn, district councillor for Long Melford, stated he was very pleased with the public’s response to the open event.
“This public engagement day was an absolute necessity in our neighbourhood plan programme, and all the comments will be analysed and put into their different categories to help us with our next phase.
“Some issues raised that may not be totally relevant, we hope will be taken up by the parish council for consideration and possible actioning.”
The consultations will be reviewed later this month, before further evidence is gathered, leading to the first formal draft of the plan before the end of 2017.
After further consultations with members of the public, the district council and an independent examiner, the plan will be subject to a village-wide referendum, to choose whether or not to adopt it.