One of least deprived villages

File Shots - LAVENHAM''Pictured: The Market Square
File Shots - LAVENHAM''Pictured: The Market Square
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A parish council is aiming to give greater power to the 
people through a new 
initiative to help shape the future of a historic Suffolk village.

The authority in Lavenham is spearheading a Neighbourhood Plan to give the tourist hotspot more autonomy from Babergh District Council.

The parish has already drafted a list of topics the new framework should coverincluding housing, health and wellbeing, education, economy and employment, ecology and countryside, village access and communications, conservation, amenities and social activities.

The village is the first in the district looking to adopt such a plan and the move follows the implentation of the Localism Act, which shifts power to individuals, communities and councils.

Cllr Carroll Reeve, who is taking the lead on the plan, said that it would provide ‘greater influence’ on issues such as planning including the style, design, quality and density of a proposed development.

Residents must be consulted at every stage in the plan’s production to create an ‘evidence based document’.

Cllr Reeve said: “We’ve got quite an aged population and we would like to see more care in the community in Lavenham.

“We will ask questions around that because currently our elderly and infirm residents, once they get a particular condition, are moved outside the village and become isolated from their friends. There’s things like that which we can’t necessarily as a parish council provide but we can influence.”

Already more than 230 people attended a meeting at the village hall earlier this month to comment on the plans and expanded on some of the subject areas - suggesting faster broadband was needed.

More than 40 people have pledged to help with the plan by forming teams to look at each of the topics and create a questionnaire, which will be sent to every household asking people what they would like to see done in the village.

Cllr Reeve hopes the plan will be ready for residents vote on in about 18 months. It will be adopted if it gains the approval of more than 50 per cent of voters.