This letter has been forwarded by M Bowcock, Bunch Lane. It appeared in the most recent edition of the Haslemere Herald.
Localism in Action – Town Meeting
Haslemere and the surrounding area has a strong sense of community and there is great pride in our town but too often it is coupled with a sense of dis-empowerment – the feeling that no-one will listen. How often do we hear the comment “Why bother? They won’t listen to us”? We now have the opportunity to change this.
The Localism Act was passed by Parliament last year and gives communities a number of new rights – the right to develop a neighbourhood plan which planning authorities must take account of, the right to buy land or buildings for community use, the right to bid to bid to take over the running of local services and others.
So what do these rights mean to the people of Haslemere?
In a town that has been both united and divided by parking proposals, it is an opportunity for us all to come together and develop a vision for our town. Obviously, parking is relevant, but a neighbourhood plan can go way beyond this, building on the Health Check and the recently launched Design Statement, to cover issues such as how we want our town to look, how we ensure that it has a vibrant economy and how we want public assets and land used for the benefit of the community. However, community rights in the Localism Act mean nothing unless members of the community step forward and take action. A number of Haslemere residents got together recently, with a representative of the Town Council, to see how we can exercise our rights and make the voice of the community heard.
To kick off the process, everyone in Haslemere and the surrounding areas is invited to an open meeting at the Haslemere Museum on Friday 28th September at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. The meeting will not decide anything but will explain how we can create a neighbourhood planning forum and invite everyone to participate. And on the basis that a party is always better than a meeting, there will also be a bar and some live music from local musicians afterwards. Please do come along and make your voice heard, meet others and help to make Haslemere an even better place to live.
M. Bowcock, Bunch Lane
From: M Bowcock [mailto: removed]
Sent: 16 September 2012 7:10 PM
Subject: RE: Letter
I’d be delighted if you would put it up on the website. It is attached and I have copied this to the editor email address. I have also attached the flyer for the meeting if you can use that, too.
Look forward to seeing you there!