HUNDREDS of Thame residents have given their views on how the town should develop.
Residents want free parking to continue, more support for independent shops and proposals to build hundreds of homes on the edge of the town to be scrapped – according to a new consultation.
Thame is a pilot for the government’s new Localism Bill – which aims to give residents more say in how the town develops.
If approved, the new neighbourhood plan will not be able to prevent new homes being built, but could stop them being built in one place in the future.
The plan could also set minimum design standards – or as one resident put it ‘no more rabbit hutches without parking’.
Sue Rowlands, director of Tibbalds which is carrying out the consultation, said: “The idea is that they can influence the overall structure of Thame.
“Issues around transport and facilities, it is trying to draw them all together into one overall plan – it’s quite revolutionary.”
Suggestions over the weekend included making it easier to get to the train station, creating more open spaces, creating a main bus terminal and getting more people living and working in the town.
Councillor Helena Fickling: “It is very important that people feel they can be listened to, and we would like people to be creative and not just reactive.”
Councillor David Lane added: “It will mean we can actually have more influence in Thame, but it is early days at the moment and people are still confused by the process.”
Initial results of the consultation will be published in the coming weeks and a second consultation will take place next month to decide which ideas should be taken forward.
A draft plan will be drawn up in January or February, and the proposals would be formally adopted in April or May – if residents back them after a town-wide referendum on the plan.
The scheme is separate to controversial plans for 775 new homes which are due to be contested in November.