Fourteen members of the Beeston Neighbourhood Forum visited Wolverhampton on Saturday (21 March 2015) to learn from residents there who have completed their Neighbourhood Plan.
The group heard from residents and council officers how the Heathfield Park Neighbourhood Plan had been formulated. The plan, which will guide development in the area over the next 10-15 years, is one of the first in the country and it was clear that the group had received very good support from their council. They were able to share tips based on their experience and offered Beeston some dos and don’ts.
Heathfield Park – the three small areas of Heath Town, Springfield and New Park Village – shares many characteristics with Beeston such as population churn in private rented housing, a diverse ethnic mix, traffic and parking problems around the local hospital and like Beeston it’s close to the city centre.
Greg Turton, Chair of Beeston Neighbourhood Forum, described the Beeston area, its amenities and its issues. He described the three events that triggered the group to explore neighbourhood planning: the park and ride scheme at Elland Road, the Asda development on Old Lane and Aspiring Communities’ plans for the Ice Pak site on Barkly Road.
After lunch there was the chance to walk around the area see the ‘concrete jungle’ of the Heath Town estate; the listed but closed public baths; and the area around the church and park which the residents have asked the council to designate as a conservation area.
The day was very informative and the Beeston group felt they had learnt a lot about the process they were embarking on, as well as making some new friends in the Black Country.