A LETTER FROM OUR CHAIRMAN PUBLISHED IN THE STAMFORD MERCURY 23RD AUGUST 2019
“Stamford is a very special place. It has a unique character, amazing architecture, and a multitude of heritage assets with over 600 listed buildings which are protected by the town’s conservation status.
The Meadows offers incomparable views across Stamford with its five mediaeval churches and the town also benefits from a multitude of other, precious, open green spaces.
Stamford remains a vibrant rural market town and visitor attraction, with a wide selection of pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, an arts centre and theatre, and a plethora of flourishing independent retailers which are a further attraction for visitors who prefer personal service over online convenience.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in this town are privileged to do so. But that privilege brings with it responsibility, that of being the town’s guardians for future generations.
That is why, some three years ago, I championed the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Stamford. This week a draft of that plan has been issued for public consultation and I urge all who care about our town’s future to give their feedback on the plan through this process.
The plan sets out a vision for the Stamford of the future, one that reflects the thoughts and feelings of the many local people who participated in our various surveys and engagement events.
Whatever our views may be, growth in Stamford is an inevitability; government targets dictate it, and over the next 20-30 years, up to 2000 houses could be built here. The Stamford Neighbourhood Plan cannot resist that growth, but through the policies set out in it, we can influence where the town will grow, what development should look like, and what infrastructure and services are needed to support growth.
The plan will protect our precious green spaces against development and will ensure that developers create more green spaces. It also calls for better connectivity both within the existing town, and to its new developments, enabling more journeys to be made on foot or by cycle thus reducing reliance on the car.
Policies set-out in the plan will encourage and support business growth through the development of employment space and offices which the towns business community are shouting out for. This in turn will also serve to attract new businesses to the town and create new jobs for Stamford people.
I cannot claim that the Stamford Neighbourhood Plan is a panacea – it will not immediately address all of Stamford’s ills. Our historic town centre constrains opportunities to develop new roads within it and incorporating additional parking is difficult. We cannot, through this plan, deliver a new bypass, much though we might all want to see one, and we cannot influence the delivery of additional rail services.
However, this plan is our opportunity to shape the Stamford of the future so that the town develops in such a way that we protect what we have now and ensure that any growth creates a sustainable future for our community.
The Stamford Neighbourhood Plan is your plan, based on your views and those of your community – I commend it to you and urge you to give your feedback on it through the consultation process. “
Stamford FIRST (The Stamford Neighbourhood Planning Forum)