rory brings ministers up for second discussion of cumbria’s neighbourhood plan

(left to right) Sonya Canon, Mark Curr, Nick Boles, Don Foster, Rory Stewart, Libby Bateman

Rory Stewart brought Planning Minister, Nick Boles MP, to Cumbria for his second trip in a month to promote Upper Eden’s Neighbourhood Plan referendum. Upper Eden will be the first community in the country to vote for their own neighbourhood plan on March 7th, and if successful they will become the first UK community to take control of their own planning policy. Rory and Nick were also joined by minister from the Department of Communities and Local Government, Don Foster, and all encouraged local residents to vote in the March 7th local referendum on the Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan in a packed meeting in Brough community hall.

The discussion with the ministers lasted an hour and a half, and contributions were made to the debate by Chairman of Upper Eden Community Plan Group – Tom Woof, leader of Eden District

Council – Gordon Nicholson, and other community leaders such as Councillor Peter Thornton, Council candidate Libby Bateman, and Sir Martin Holdgate. They discussed how exactly their communities stood to be affected by the plan, as well as details of broader planning and housing policy. One of the primary points of concern for many residents was how to prevent further increases in house prices and ensure that young families on an average income can continue to afford to live in the area.

Subsequent to the Parish Hall meeting, local residents and farmers – Mark Curr and partner Sonya Canon – kindly agreed to show the ministers the family farm in Bowderdale, where under the Neighbourhood Plan they would be able to convert one of their existing barns into a property in which they can live. The plan has seven key priorities which includes making it easier for local people to build their own affordable housing, an emphasis on suitable housing for elderly people, as well as measures which will make it much easier for farmers and rural businesses to develop their outlying buildings.

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