As with all Neighbourhood Plans, the Plan for Huntingdon is being developed in close consultation with the community. Local residents have so far provided their feedback through questionnaires and events. This feedback has been compiled and summarised into six key objectives, as set out below.
Please note that during February, we are once again asking for feedback from local residents. This is your opportunity to let us know whether you agree with that these six areas should be taken forward to form the framework of Huntingdon's Neighbourhood Plan.
1. Promote Huntingdon as a place of great potential for business investment, thus providing increased employment opportunities to residents
The majority of residents felt either unsure whether there are, or certain that there were not sufficient job opportunities within Huntingdon. Let's turn this around by promoting Huntingdon as a place for businesses to invest. Many respondents highlighted the excellent transport links Huntingdon can offer and its prime location, a huge selling point for potential investors.
2. Ensure the residents are well served by high quality retail and community facilities within Huntingdon centre
The shops within Huntingdon are well used by residents, with many residents citing shopping as a common activity. However, it was an also an area commonly mentioned as being in need of improvement, with 45% of people describing the variety of retail outlets in the town centre as poor. There is a clear misfit here between demand and supply. The Neighbourhood Plan can be used to set out a clear guide about what retail units in the town centre are wanted by residents.
3. Promote tourism within Huntingdon
Residents have told us that they would like to see more on offer for tourists in Huntingdon. Naturally, tourist attractions will also appeal to residents, so any development in Huntingdon will provide an all-round benefit. Furthermore, a town that is appealing to visitors will also be attractive to potential investors. The Neighbourhood Plan will guide thinking on the kind of future developments that will serve not only the resident community, but also visitors, who, importantly, spend money in Huntingdon.
4. Ensure that the whole community is well provided for, younger and older, and increase a positive sense of community
Families were felt to be well served by leisure and community facilities, but the young and older residents were not. The Neighbourhood Plan in itself can help to increase the sense of a community spirit, but there needs to be a more sustainable outcome. Future planning considerations need to take into account the needs of all of Huntingdon residents, not just those with families. Satisfying the needs of all residents will help to raise community spirit levels.
5. Protect and enhance our valuable and well-loved green spaces
When we asked 'what is the best thing about Huntingdon' the riverside area and the green spaces were amongst the most popular responses, with three quarters of people rating these areas as good or excellent. In this plan, we can officially safeguard the future of these green spaces and focus on looking at how these assets can be further enhanced. For example, you also told us that you would like to see more wildlife and conservation areas, and cycling trails. The Neighbourhood Plan will ensure that these wishes are included within future planning proposals.
6. Ensure that the community can travel in and around Huntingdon using a transport infrastructure that is fit for purpose
Huntingdon is a town with great transport connections, but they can also be a source of frustration for the community. A third of residents use the car as their main form of transport, but almost two thirds of residents travel either on foot, by bus or by bike. This split highlights the importance of ensuring that the whole transport network is fit for purpose. Car users want uncongested roads that are in good condition, and easily available parking. While others want a reliable bus service, more cycle paths or safe pedestrian routes.