Something that seems to unite everyone who lives in and around Wellington is a strong feeling that the Taunton Deane district council tends to make decisions that favour Taunton rather than the smaller towns. “Poor relation syndrome”, in other words.
That may be about to change. Under a Westminster initiative called the Localism Act, town and parish councils can set up a Neighbourhood Plan. Once supported by a referendum of residents, the district council cannot legally ignore it. At present all they must do is to take into account – which all too often means ignore.
Two recent public meetings in Wellington have seen a good turn out of people keen to have their say on a range of issues from environment to the local economy. Cllr Dave Mitton who introduced the events can give a clear example of the possible benefits.
“We would have had a full Longforth Rd development to the north of the town rather than the halfway house that’s coming if we’d had a statutory Neighbourhood Plan in place,” he said. “The cul-de-sac developments at Dobree Park, Swains lane and Cades Farm would have been quite different if we’d been listened to.”
Large sheets of paper were laid out at the two meetings for people to leave comments for forwarding to the group that must draft the plan. Here are a small selection:
Protect and take action over Tonedale Mill
Provide more allotments
Housing for the “well elderly” must be close to shops and banks
Tesco or Sainsburys for the Bulford Medical Centre site
Replace St John’s school with modern buildings to cater for new housing
Build cycle and running tracks with all future housing
Replace “not fit for purpose” community centre using Lottery money
Develop a USP that Wellington is the place to shop by bike
Town’s cultural context needs to wider than just WAA and twinning
Use Bulford as a youth and community centre
Opportunites for young people to be employed
Aspirations to be known as a “Food Town” need to be reviewed
Encourage local shopping and discourage Tesco delivery vans
These are just a tiny smaple of hundreds of ideas but the Town Council still want more. Please do email them at firstname.lastname@example.org