Coun Andrew Williams: City Plan referendum 'vital to future vitality of Ripon'

Publicity for the Ripon City Plan was discussed at an extraordinary meeting of Ripon City Council held on Monday night.
Publicity for the Ripon City Plan was discussed at an extraordinary meeting of Ripon City Council held on Monday night.

Support for Ripon’s neighbourhood plan is ramping up with just three weeks to go until its long-anticipated referendum.

Here are 30 reasons why Ripon is the best city in the UK
At an extraordinary meeting of Ripon City Council on Monday night, which was called to discuss publicity for the Ripon City Plan, Coun Andrew Williams (Ind, Moorside), said it’s vital for Ripon residents to understand its importance.

He said: “It’s vitally important that members of the public are properly informed as to what is actually happening on February 14. It’s important that as many people as possible understand that this referendum is vital to the future vitality of the city, and that it gives the city a real say and influence over decisions affecting its long-term future.”

If more than 50 per cent of the Ripon residents who vote on February 14, vote in favour of the City Plan, it will be formally adopted and used by Harrogate Borough Council to consider planning applications in the Ripon parish - giving the city what has been described by committee member Mick Stanley as “the first opportunity in two generations to exert some influence on proposed development.”

The wording of the question that will be put to residents is, “Do you want Harrogate Borough Council to use the Ripon Neighbourhood Plan to help it decide planning applications in the Ripon Neighbourhood Area?”

The plan contains a raft of policies around issues such as housing, community facilities, strengthening the city centre, and regenerating other key areas of Ripon.

Ripon City Plan committee member Christopher Hughes said: “Ripon has been concerned over the past generation and a half about how much autonomy it has locally, and in its own small way this neighbourhood plan is a way that Ripon can exercise and express its autonomy. The plan is something that’s been produced by Ripon people for Ripon people.”

At the city council meeting on Monday night, councillors voted to produce an explainer leaflet about the Ripon City Plan which will be distributed to Ripon households and community facilities - and more hard copies of the plan will be produced for residents to view, including ones with larger print.

Readers can view the City Plan at venues including Ripon Town Hall, Ripon library, and Harrogate Civic Centre. The plan can also be viewed via the Ripon City Plan website here.

Read more of the Ripon Gazette's features on the Ripon City Plan:

Ripon City Plan: What it says about regenerating key areas of Ripon

Ripon City Plan: What it is, where residents can see it, and its policies