The borders for Ripon’s new Neighbourhood Area – a special zone giving residents a greater say in their city’s future – have been officially designated.
Following the consultation by Harrogate Borough Council, the area – a pilot scheme and the first in the whole district – will be identical to the parish boundary of Ripon City Council.
City Coun Mick Stanley, the project’s lead officer in Ripon, told the Gazette: “We’re giving people the opportunity to have their say on what they want from their city.”
Referring to the the Local Government Act 1972, which transferred power away from the city two years later, he said: “This is the first time in almost two generations that people will have a say on their future.”
Because the Neighbourhood Area is coextensive with the parish boundary, it does not include areas such as Quarry Moor and Sharow, and so Coun Stanley said he would like people to see the project more as a “city plan”.
“We felt it had to be the city boundary because it made so much sense,” he said, referring to the working group of councillors, residents and businesses set up by Ripon City Council to organise the public consultation and outline Ripon’s neighbourhood vision.
From a total of 49 questionnaires collected in the first stage of consultation, only two people proposed to change the boundary to include more areas on the north side of the city.
As lead officer, Coun Stanley will push ahead with the second part of the consultation now the suggested area boundary has been given the green light.
The second stage of public consultation – to draft a Neighbourhood Plan – will run from April to May when people in Ripon will be given the chance to contribute their thoughts and ideas on the project.
They will be consulted on six broad issues, which Coun Stanley has renamed since the original consultation was launched so that the categories are more “user-friendly and capture people’s imaginations”.
“We want to give the public a sensible idea of what we want them to think about. We want to ask people, ‘what can Ripon do for you?’
“Everyone can have an input into this and help make Ripon a better place.”
The Neighbourhood Plan is part of the national Government’s Localism Agenda to transfer power back to neighbourhoods from local authorities and give people a greater say in the development of their towns and cities.
The second stage of the consultation will be drawn up to include questions about how to improve the high street and local economy, how to provide for community infrastructure and how to create sustainable development and maintain the natural environment.
Coun Stanley said: “It would be great to get even a five per cent response from Ripon’s population.
“Then we will get a better representation of what people want.”
lFor more information visit Ripon Library or the city council office at the town hall, where paper copies are available to read, or visit:
Coun Mick Stanley comments on the six broad categories that will form part of the Neighbourhood Plan consultation, which will run from April to May:
l Earning and spending (Retail)
“We need to find ways of reviltalising the high street.”
l Meeting and greeting (Attraction and tourism)
“Ripon has a very strong visitor economy.”
l Healthy Ripon (Health)
“We want to be proactive in ensuring people’s futures. It’s about the prevention rather than the cause. A healthy population means a healthy city.”
l Getting around
“This will include things such as cycling and the proposal to reinstate Ripon train station.”
l Looking after Ripon (Environment)
“We have three rivers in Ripon and we have to ensure everything is well maintained.”
l Living and learning (Housing and education)
“We know that we need another primary school in Ripon.”