Every house in Stamford will over the coming weeks be given a unique chance to have their say on how the town is developed in the future.
Stamford First is in the process of developing the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan and has already held a number of launch events with the public to get early feedback.
But next week every household in the town will receive an in-depth survey asking for their views on a range of topics. As well as housing development, topics include sports and leisure facilities, education, heritage and the environment and highways, transport and parking.
The deadline for returning forms or filling in the form online is October but chairman of Stamford First David Taylor, a Stamford town councillor, is keen for people to get involved and have their say today.
As an added incentive, there are five £100 vouchers for a Stamford restaurant to be won for participants.
Coun Taylor said: “It is inevitable that Stamford will be required to grow in the future but we need to ensure that development occurs without loss of Stamford’s special and distinctive character.
“It is critical that Stamford’s defining assets as an historic and vibrant rural market town and tourist destination, are retained and enhanced, and that Stamford’s important heritage assets and precious green spaces are protected.
“Importantly also, where development occurs, our plan must ensure appropriate improvements to infrastructure and services to enable all sections of the community to enjoy a sustainable way of life.”
He urged people to respond to the plan as soon as possible.
Coun Taylor added: “The neighbourhood planning process is designed to enable local people to exert a strong and effective influence on local development.
“The creation of Stamford’s Neighbourhood Plan will enable the town’s residents to shape the development of Stamford over the next two decades.
“This is a genuine opportunity for Stamfordians to claw back lost influence over Stamford’s future.”
A similar town plan was conducted in 2009 which had a response rate of about 20 per cent and Coun Taylor is hopeful that more people will respond this time because the neighbourhood plan created as a result will genuinely influence local development.
Once it is created - based on the feedback from this consultation - it will be subject to a referendum by Stamford residents. If it’s adopted, it becomes a legally binding document which has to be considered by Stamford Town Council, South Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire County Council when considering local planning issues. Already there is legal precedent that prove these plans have real clout.
Coun Taylor added: “This is an exciting opportunity for the people of Stamford to shape the future of their town. Unlike anything which has gone before, the Stamford Plan will have real impact on future planning and development. I encourage everyone to have their say by sharing their views and completing our questionnaire.”
Stamford First has printed 12,000 copies of the survey, which will be door-dropped and distributed via Stamford Living magazine, as well as available to pick up from Stamford Arts Centre and Stamford Town Hall.
The questionnaire is also available online - the preferred method of return by visiting the Stamford First website, where there is also more information on the neighbourhood plan, visit stamfordfirst.org.uk. For the latest development follow @stamfordfirst on Twitter.