The opening of Ripon market took an unusual twist on Thursday as the Bellman also signalled the start of the City Plan consultation.
The people of Ripon will get the chance to have their say on the future of the city as the Ripon City Plan consultation – known officially as the Neighbourhood Plan – has now officially opened.
For the first time in living memory, the town’s Bellman Brian Rushworth took on the additional role of Town Crier as he read out the terms of the new plan after ringing his bell to signal the start of market day at 11am.
The plan will map out the future development of the city and invite people to contribute their thoughts and ideas.
Chairman of the Ripon City Plan group, Ripon city Coun Mick Stanley, told the Gazette: “This is a huge opportunity for the people and businesses of Ripon to get involved and tell us what they think about how Ripon could be better for them.
“We want as many people as possible to give us their views so that we can create a plan to make Ripon an even better place for everyone.”
In recognition of the city’s rich history, the start of the consultation was heralded by the Ripon Bellman, a role originally drafted in centuries ago to signal the opening of the corn market. And although the corn market has long since gone, Mr Rushworth still rings his bell at 11am each Thursday to officially open the general market.
The 12-week consultation period allows everyone living in, working in or visiting the city to get involved and contribute their thoughts as to how Ripon could be improved.
The consultation is the first major step in the creation of a Ripon City Plan which could shape the development of the city over coming years.
Members of the Ripon City Plan committee – which includes representatives from the city council, Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership (GRIP), Ripon Civic Society, Ripon Cathedral, and Ripon Chamber of Trade and Commerce – were in attendance to help launch the plan and hand out copies of consultation documents.
The new Neighbourhood Area – which outlines the boundaries of the places in Ripon which will benefit from the plan – was plotted last month and is identical to the parish boundary of Ripon City Council.
People in the city will be consulted on six categories:
lHealthy Ripon (Health);
lEarning and Spending (Retail);
lMeeting and Greeting (Attractions and tourism);
lGetting Around (Transport);
lLooking after Ripon (Environment);
lLearning and Living (Education and housing).
A leaflet setting out issues the City Plan could attempt to tackle will also be delivered to 15,000 households.