A public meeting was held at the Steyning Centre on Saturday to launch the Steyning, Wiston, Ashurst and Bramber (SWAB) Neighbourhood Plan process.
In my view, this is the most important development to happen in our area since the Second World War, since it has the potential to make a major impact on the lives of every single individual, either positively or negatively.
To start the ball rolling, on August 21, I submitted my initial neighbourhood plan ideas to the chairman of the SWAB steering committee.
My ideas included a hotel to take advantage of our under-exploited tourism potential in Steyning, a tourism-friendly, traffic-free High Street and Steyning Piazza replacing the town clock car park, grammar school expansion, sporting facility development, appropriate housing and so on.
I sincerely hoped that many other residents would also be actively encouraged by SWAB to submit their own ideas in order to take advantage of all of the creative talent that is out there before we enter the soul destroying and dampening effect of the mechanical ‘resident survey’ and so on.
The more wacky, outrageous, perceptive, odd, ridiculous and inspiring the ideas the better, from both young and old.
Unfortunately, my own personal response from the chairman on September 10 was: “It is important that this is made clear from the start and there is no mis-information on what the neighbourhood plan can achieve.” At least one other person has had a similar negative reaction, which is hardly encouraging when the current SWAB poster clearly states that ‘the views of all local residents are important and must be considered’.
My unforgivable mistake appears to have been that I had dared to mention the fact that a skate park could be easily incorporated within the neighbourhood plan. Clearly that went against the official Steyning Parish Council party line.
However, if Kirdford can include specific sporting facilities within their successfully-adopted plan then so can we. Residents must not take no for an answer from SWAB on any of our ideas if we feel that they are going to be really beneficial for our communities.
• Want to share your views? Send your letters by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA.