Neighbourhood Plan Public Consultation Response Summary
A copy of the full Policy Assessment and Consultation Report can be downloaded here.
During the consultation period a total of 760 responses to the questionnaire were received, including:
- 684 online responses
- 23 paper copy responses
- 53 responses from the Royal Wootton Bassett & Lyneham Advertiser ‘pull-out’
A further five written consultation responses were also received.
A detailed summary of the responses to each of the questions in the questionnaire is set out in section 3 and Appendix 3 of the main report.
The initial public consultation exercise received a very good rate of response, primarily amongst people who both live and work in Royal Wootton Bassett, but also from other stakeholders including local businesses and those who visit the town for work and to use its facilities. Although most people were aware that Royal Wootton Bassett had a Neighbourhood Plan few described themselves as being ‘very familiar’ with its contents. That did not, however, detract from respondents’ ability to engage with the consultation and give useful and detailed responses to the survey questions.
In terms of the desire for future development or growth of the town, the responses were mixed with large numbers of respondents resisting the idea of future growth, particularly additional large scale housing developments. Some respondents however supported the idea of moderate or small-scale growth, as long as it is supported by appropriate levels of infrastructure, particularly healthcare and education facilities and transport infrastructure.
The need for improvements to transport infrastructure and highway safety in the town was a key issue in general, particularly the need to improve congestion in the High Street and town centre, with large numbers of respondents supporting the need for a bypass. A significant proportion of respondents also identified a need for improvements to sustainable transport provision, in particular a need for enhanced cycle paths throughout the town and providing safe and direct cycle links to Swindon. The development of a railway station was also a key concern amongst many respondents.
A large number of responses also identified the need for the Neighbourhood Plan to consider issues relating to sustainable ‘green’ development, climate change and energy efficiency (including zero carbon developments).
In terms of what people liked about the town, a significant number of responses focused on the town’s community feel, historic character and wide range of independent shops as positive characteristics that should be retained and enhanced. There was a key concern that Royal Wootton Bassett should remain physically and characteristically distinct from Swindon and should not become a ‘suburb’ of Swindon.
Whilst there was broad support for the vision and objectives contained in the original Neighbourhood Plan the public consultation also revealed some useful suggestions for how these objectives might be improved or expanded.
The responses from the public consultation exercise, together with the findings of the policy review exercise, were used to inform the development of a draft vision and objectives for the Neighbourhood Plan Review. The results of the public consultation exercise have also been used to inform the development of the draft list of policies to be included within the Neighbourhood Plan Review.