Town looks to future with neighbourhood plan initiative

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The town of Hadleigh is planning for its future after a series of consultations inviting the public to have their say.

The consultation events, which took place on Friday and Saturday, aimed to help formulate the town council’s neighbourhood plan and allow the public to see the results of a recent town survey.

Brian Riley, a county and district councillor for Hadleigh north, said the neighbourhood plan was a vitally important initiative for the town.

“If you don’t plan your future, someone else will,” he said. “It is very important that the people of Hadleigh should control their own destiny.”

The consultation events, which attracted around 60 visitors, marked the start of the town council’s endeavour to formalise a neighbourhood plan which could take up to two years.

Mr Riley, who lives in Benton Street, said the plan will impact the long-term vitality of Hadleigh’s economy, from the high street and small businesses to the town’s industrial employers.

In the face of a tougher economic landscape for high street retailers, he stressed the importance of supporting local suppliers to ensure their survival.

“Without a thriving high street, you don’t have a town,” he said. “We should love local, buy local and support local.

“The high street is very important and I think it’s a key part of Hadleigh.”

One of the most influential aims of any neighbourhood plan is to inform the district council on future planning application decisions.

Housing development was one area highlighted by the results of Hadleigh’s town survey and residents’ responses at the consultation events.

Mr Riley said the survey and consultation events had allowed the town council to pinpoint what residents want for the town’s future, which allows the town council to act on their behalf.

“The neighbourhood plan allows us to go forward and inform the district and county councils as to what the town wants,” he said.

“It allows us to say we have gone through this process of consultation and we speak for the town.”