Recognition for Debenham’s bright future plan
Debenham Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan has been ‘highly commended’ as part of the virtual 2020 Planning Awards held on 9 September.
Amongst strong competition, the plan was recognised at the online award ceremony under the Plan Making category. Judges felt it was a worthy example of a community plan that will make a genuine positive impact on the local area.
The strength of the village’s entry was highlighted, as they competed amongst big cities including London and Manchester for the top spot.
The commendation also further adds to the support from local residents for the plan.
Cllr Steve Palframan, Leader of Debenham’s Neighbourhood Plan Group, said:
“This recognition and news is warmly welcomed. We faced stiff competition in this category with many of the other entries being from larger urban areas. We should be extremely proud that we were one of the few rural schemes to be shortlisted.
“It is total credit to the team and community who worked on and rallied behind the plan for more than six years. It’s great to see our blueprint recognised, which aims to protect and enhance the character of Debenham for years to come.”
The plan, created by Debenham Parish Council in partnership with the district council, Locality, AECOM and many others, will help guide and shape future development in the parish over the next 16 years.
Jane Baldwin, Chair of Debenham Parish Council, said:
“The recognition received from the 2020 National Planning awards for the Debenham Neighbourhood Plan is simply amazing, especially considering the competition we faced within the category.
“When the heart and soul of the community is represented in such a document it is good to know we did a good job and the accolade belongs to this community who gave us their valuable input, support and faith.
“Recognition and thanks should also go to those key people who created the document, pulling together the myriad of information and working with our valued partners and volunteers without whom the job would have been so much more challenging. We should be both proud and pleased that Debenham has a "Highly Commended Neighbourhood Plan.”
The high quality of the plan is thanks to its clear vision for the village and extensive community engagement with residents and businesses. The inclusivity of all community needs, environmental, health, leisure and recreational, traffic flows and car parking, heritage, and housing, ensures the village has a sustainable and healthy future.
Cllr Kathie Guthrie, Ward Member for Debenham at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:
“Our Neighbourhood Plan working group and the parish council’s tenacity and professionalism has been second to none. This is proven with the award of ‘highly commended’ only just being pipped to the post for second place.
“Great credit must also be given to the local community and residents who have supported this. They have been so positive about the future of the village while addressing the UK and districts’ needs for more housing.”
In February last year, 96% of the local community voted to approve the plan, with 60% of residents coming out to vote. It is believed to be the highest approval rating across the country for Neighbourhood Plans. The plan finally received the rubber stamp at Mid Suffolk District Council's meeting the following month.
Cllr David Burn, Cabinet Member for planning at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:
“Congratulations to Debenham Parish Council for this well-deserved recognition. This highlights the importance of neighbourhood plans. We want to continue working with our communities so they can have their say in local development and enjoy bright and healthy futures."
Debenham Parish Council is now also putting their skills to good use across the district, by supporting and helping other villages in Mid Suffolk to produce high quality Neighbourhood Plans.