How you want to see city develop
CITY planners took to the sofa to find out what local people want from the future of Plymouth.
A team from Plymouth City Council planning department set up their stall – including a comfy sofa – at Plymouth University's Social Enterprise trade fair in the Roland Levinsky building yesterday. The pioneering plan, which will guide almost every aspect of city life up to 2031, will be written with the help of local people. And one of the key decisions to be made is the controversial issue of whether to keep land at Roborough as an airport, or allow it to be developed.
The new plan will go far beyond the existing core strategy, looking not only at where development can take place, but also at education, jobs, the 'Greening of Plymouth', transport, the arts and even people's health.
Matt Wise, a second-year geography student at the university, said he thought having an airport was important because Plymouth was out on a limb.
"Plymouth needs to put itself out there," said Matt, who is from Bristol. "It has everything, but people outside just see the lighthouse and the naval heritage."
Richard Grant, the plan team leader, said: "Getting out there with the sofa is an attempt to change the way the council engages with people. We don't have any ideas yet – we're asking people to tell us what they want the Plymouth Plan to do for them."
Caroline Marr, who manned the sofa, said a steady stream of visitors left comments.
Among the many comments left by visitors to the sofa were:
Better connections between different parts of the city such as the city centre and Millbay
"Get Dan McCauley to do something with Drake's Island"
"Redo the seafront – the history of Plymouth is being ruined"
Bring in more cruise ships
Stage more high-profile events like last year's British Art Show and America's Cup World Series.
Mr Grant said there would be a "Plymouth Convention" next summer to continue the dialogue with residents.
"That's new," he said. "I'm not aware of any other authority in the country which is doing it to this extent."
Council planners, using the public feedback, will start work on a draft plan, which will go out to public consultation before being submitted to a Government inspector.
Mr Grant said he expected it to be adopted in early to mid-2015, and it will then form the blueprint for development up to 2031.
Development has been guided since 2006 by the council's "core strategy", which was built on the 2003 Mackay Vision.
But the city's chief planner, Paul Barnard, said: "The experts will be called on to analyse the ideas put forward," he said. "It has to be evidence-based."