A ground breaking initiative in the west of Wolverhampton is seeking feedback from local residents and businesses.

Called "Our Place Our Plan" several hundred local people have already given their time and ideas to a new Neighbourhood Plan which will influence the long term future of the 2 Tettenhall wards.

Our Place Our Plan has been drafted by local residents giving their time voluntarily as a project led by Tettenhall District Community Council, which is one of 14 Local Neighbourhood Partnerships in Wolverhampton. Hundreds of comments and suggestions have been received in the last couple of years from people across both wards. Following advice from professionals, these have now been worked up into policies to decide what sort of new developments will be allowed in future years. The draft Plan has been commended by the Department of Communities and Local Government for its clarity.

"The Community Council had been frustrated for many years that planning guidelines often failed to reflect local views. So we were keen to make the most of the opportunity to produce a Neighbourhood Plan under the Government's 2012 Localism Bill. Although we have had good support from the professionals, Tettenhall is a pilot project and we have had to accept changes to the rules and that there is a steep learning curve," said Cyril Randles TDCC Chairman.

Local residents in Tettenhall are now looking for feedback on whether the Plan reflects peoples' views accurately. The consultation will run for 6 weeks from 19 September to 31 October 2013. The Plan will then be re-assessed and amended as necessary, and then will be subject to a referendum in summer 2014. If agreed, Our Place Our Plan will influence local planning decisions until 2026.

"We are looking for local people to get involved by telling us what they do and don't like in the Plan. So far the whole Plan is locally generated and we think it is a good blend of local knowledge and professional input. But of course it can always be improved and so all comments are welcome," added George Reiss, a local resident who volunteered to help draw up the Plan

"Surveys show that local people often agree about the main issues, but people will still want to see the detail of what is being proposed. We hope that the consultation will affirm the things that people agree on, and will enable us to cut out those aspects of the Plan where there may be less unity - as volunteers we think the most controversial matters are best left to our elected representatives and our role is chiefly to find areas where there is a high level of agreement.... but we need people's feedback to do that."

Fact and Figures about Our Place Our Plan

  • 915 people have attended local workshops, road shows and public meetings since 2011
  • at least 30 stories in 5 local newspapers and publications
  • over 50 local community groups given updates at regular intervals
  • 1,045 local residents surveyed (July 2012 by MEL Research)
  • 273 businesses surveyed (Aug 2012 by MEL Research)
  • over 7,500 volunteer hours committed
  • 127 local residents have been actively involved in producing the Draft Plan

What's in Our Place Our Plan?

Twenty six policies for the Tettenhall area based on ideas and suggestions from local residents. The new policies are organised under themes such as Economy, Conservation, Housing, Transport and examples include:

  • guidelines for the future use of major sites at Macrome Road, Penk Rise, School Road in Tettenhall Wood, and the Wolverhampton Environment Centre in Finchfield
  • stronger protection for the Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve, gardens and other green spaces
  • new 20 mph limits around schools and on roads with no pavement

Other Attributable Quotes

"We've had tremendous support so far, and I'd like to thank all the people who have come up with suggestions and who have given their time and expertise. We're hopeful that lots of people will contribute to the consultation in September and October." Cyril Randles, Chairman Our Place Our Plan

"Reading the comments and listening to people, it's obvious that many people care deeply about the area, and want to look after it for future generations. I've lived in Tettenhall and Castlecroft all my life, but I learned so much more from helping to compile the draft plan. It's full of interesting information and has really opened my eyes to so many things I hadn't spotted before." Brenda Bates, Our Place Our Plan volunteer.

"From our surveys we knew that people wanted better road safety at Claregate Park, so it was encouraging that the National Planning Inspector used the research in Our Place Our Plan when he gave the decision in favour of a pedestrian crossing there." George Reiss, Our Place Our Plan volunteer

The key questions we have been asking are "How would you like to see your area develop and change over the next 20 years? What would you not like to see happen?" The Plan that's now going to the city council tries to reflect all the areas where we think that a large majority of people are in agreement. However we're not trying to make decisions about the most contentious issues as the plan probably isn't very well set up for that, and besides we see that as a job for the elected representatives." Cyril Randles, Chairman Our Place Our Plan

'It has been local people, very much involved, who are trying to put in place a safeguard to retaining our most pleasant features so I whole heartedly wish the Plan well.' Councillor Wendy Thompson, City Councillor for Wightwick Ward:

'The structure and presentation is very clear - it is easy to separate the policies from the background and see how they relate to the rest of the plan. A lot of work has clearly gone into this document - the level of evidence looks good'. Assessment of OPOP by the Department of Communities and Local Govt.

  • released: Tuesday 17 September, 2013