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Town has say on plans for future

PUBLISHED: 09:00 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:31 01 August 2010

MORE than 400 people from Halesworth and the surrounding area turned out over the weekend to have their say on a blueprint for the future of the town.

Local residents turned out in force to give their opinions on issues such as future levels of housing, the provision of sports facilities, and the development of the town centre.

MORE than 400 people from Halesworth and the surrounding area turned out over the weekend to have their say on a blueprint for the future of the town.

Local residents turned out in force to give their opinions on issues such as future levels of housing, the provision of sports facilities, and the development of the town centre.

A consultation exhibition took place on Friday and Saturday at the town's Rifle Hall in support of the development of the Town Plan, which is currently being drawn up.

Sandra Leverett, chairman of Halesworth Town Council, said: “We were delighted that so many people made the effort to attend.

“I was putting some of the comments together and I was amazed at the time people had taken to sit down and fill out the form. Many had written quite detailed comments.”

Mrs Leverett said it was hoped the document would be ready before the end of the year and added: “If we have a Town Plan it identifies projects and because we have done this consultation it will enable us to have more authority to facilitate and put them into action.”

Richard Woolnough, chairman of the group spearheading the plan, said: “This will be a key document for Halesworth. With a Town Plan in place, we may get what we need out of future development. Without a plan, we might not. Everybody from the government down says that the views of local people are important and this is our way of testing these fine words.”

Topics for discussion included the growing trend of young families migrating to other towns and cities.

In recent months councillors have spoken of their concerns about it leading to an ageing population, which they believe will be exacerbated by the closure of the middle school when the county's new two-tier educational structure is implemented.

People were also asked to say how they wanted to see sports provision developed in the town.

Earlier this year both Halesworth Town Council and Waveney District Council called on landowners to come forward with potential sites for sports facilities, after it emerged that a document detailing proposals for development in the town over the next 25 years had not earmarked a single site for developing outdoor sports provision.

Residents and businesses were also asked their views on how the Thoroughfare and Market Place areas could be developed to attract more shoppers to the town centre.

Opinions over proposals for a Tesco store to be built in the town centre remain divided, with a decision pending by the Planning Inspectorate, after the matter was taken out of Waveney's hands.

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