A consultation is underway to get views on the plans of two South Cambridgeshuire villages to work together to decide their own futures.
Linton and Hildersham parish councils have applied to South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) to designate them as a ‘Neighbourhood Area’, which will mean they can go on to form a development plan.
This could include providing and designing homes, shops, offices and infrastructure as well as transport solutions for the A1307 and rat run that causes.
SCDC’s consultation is calling on people to give their views on the proposed Neighbourhood Area, and to see if any other parishes want to be included before a decision is taken on how the plan should progress. Neighbourhood Development Plans are not required by parish councils but those who carry one out can use it to propose additional development on top of SCDC’s local plans.
Paul Poulter, vice chairman of Linton Parish Council, said: “This offers numerous benefits in terms of taking a more active role in determining our future in key areas.
“It’s not just planning, it’s protection of the environment, the sort of housing development we have, and this could potentially be quite an important change in the planning process.
“We can’t propose less development than in is the local plan, but what we can try and do is be a part of determining what is sustainable development and what is the best suited type of accommodation needed.
“Hildersham and Linton are both very much affected by the transport links from Haverhill to Cambridge with the increased traffic flow on the A1307 and more and more lorries taking short cuts through the villages, so it’s a shared concern that we need to address.”
Keith Day, chairman of Hildersham Parish Council, added: “The chief benefit is that it gives the local population considerably greater say in the way the village develops, with transport, roads, housing and the environment.
“It obviously makes quite a lot of work but brings advantages in the local community getting a bigger say in how their area is developed.
“We couldn’t have done something like this on our own which is why we’ve joined up with a bigger neighbouring parish.
“The A1307 has to be a hot issue and anything we can do to influence that is very important as both villages suffer with the same sort of problems.
“It will take about two years to get this produced.”
SCDC is contacting bordering authorities and parishes directly as part of the consultation and further information can be found at www.scambs.gov.uk/neighbourhood-planning. The consultation closes on April 9.
Cllr Pippa Corney, SCDC cabinet member for planning policy and localism, said: “We are very pleased to be able to facilitate localism by helping parishes put together their own neighbourhood plans.
“At this stage we are simply asking people if they think the area submitted is the correct one, and this is an opportunity for other parishes to request to join in if they believe there is mutual benefit.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (March 13) Echo.