Our March meeting was a very positive affair.

News from NFDC

We began with the news that NFDC have announced they will be putting money into redeveloping the town centre. While we have suspected news on the horizon for some time due to all the big developments happening around us, this is very welcome news and we are excited to work together with NFDC on community consultation.

Updates from our independent planning consultant

We next had an in-depth update from our independent planning consultant, Richard Lewis, on the strategic work they are doing for us at the moment and the work they have planned up until the end of April. Richard also talked to the committee about setting a date for a site visit around the town centre for mid March to help feed into his report.

Areas where we can improve links

We spent the next part of the meeting brainstorming areas where we can improve links for existing walks.

Next consultation

We have begun making plans for our next consultation event - watch this space for more details soon.

As always, if you'd like to read the full transcript from the meeting you can view it here!

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We eased into the New Year with a short and sweet meeting this week, yet it was nonetheless filled with a number of key decisions and updates.

Meeting with NFDC

Several of our team are going to be meeting with the planning team at NFDC to better understand how our work can intersect and how we can best support each other. The team are very keen to meet with and work more closely with NFDC, and hopefully this meeting on 24th January will be the start on that journey.

Next Consultation Event

We also decided to organise another consultation event. We are planning for this event to be held in Calmore on a Saturday in June.

Facebook Page Coming Soon

Thinking more about how we communicate with the community we're going to set up a Facebook page to help make it easier to send out regular updates to interested residents.

Bringing on an independent consultant

The biggest decision we made is to hire an independent consultant to do some work for us. Our next meeting in February will be focused around writing the brief for this piece of work. We feel that it's a ripe time to get some professional input and guidance in pulling together what we already have.

You can read the full minutes of the meeting here.

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The town council recently hired a consultant to look through all the work that has been done on the Neighbourhood Plan so far to help give us pointers on what to do next. Most of November's meeting was spent going through that critique and forming a plan of our next steps.

We have roughly £8000 of budget currently, and in light of the advice we've been given we're going to use a chunk of that to hire a consultant to write up a draft Neighbourhood Plan for us. We're at a stage now where we have a great deal of information recorded and evidenced, and it's time it was drawn together by a planning professional for us. Once that has been done we'll be in a good position to look at filling in any gaps.

Thinking about how we work

We're also still thinking about the structure of our committee. We're very keen to see more residents holding committee positions or being a joint-chair of the Neighbourhood Plan. This is something we'll be focusing on again in our next meeting, and how we can support sustainable and effective work on the Neighbourhood Plan by all our volunteers.

Added to the pot - heritage buildings & housing mix

We made a start on discussing the heritage buildings of Totton and Eling that we'd like to list and include in our Neighbourhood Plan. We also had a discussion about what we can say more generally about housing across Totton and Eling. We talked about how one of our great strengths as a town is how much diversity we encompass, and how we'd like a housing mix in the future that continues to reflect that and to allow that diversity to continue and thrive.

Coming up - discussions for our next agenda

In our next meeting (or two) we will be discussing

  • Heritage buildings in Totton and Eling that we'd like to see protected

  • Envisaging policy ideas (i.e. campaign to promote cycling)

  • How climate change will affect Totton and Eling

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 4th January at 7pm. We are still sticking with zoom meetings for now, as we're finding them more accessible and it allows us to be flexible with group size. If you're not on our mailing list already contact us and we'll make sure you receive the zoom invitation!

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