A NEIGHBOURHOOD plan, which if approved will help shape local planning policy is progressing.

Bodmin Neighbourhood Plan, which like other neighbourhood plans has to go through several phases before being put to a referendum where locals can choose to adopt it, is currently being overseen by Bodmin Town Council.

At a recent meeting of Bodmin Town Council’s planning committee, chaired by Cllr Pete Skea, councillors heard the latest in the progress from Cllr Jeremy Cooper, who is leading the town council’s work on bringing the plan to the final stages.

The update came off the back of a recent exercise to gauge the opinions of Bodmin’s residents towards the draft plan, before it is further amended where possible.

Cllr Cooper revealed that the council hopes to bring the processes leading up to the final plan going to a referendum before May 2025, when the next elections for both Bodmin Town Council and Cornwall Council is due. It would mean that the plan is in place prior to voters choosing who they wish to represent them at both a town and county level.

He added that the town council’s assistant town clerk, Amanda Bright, was pushing Cornwall Council to do its processes as part of a ‘calibration’ stage in the hope this planned deadline would be met.

It is hoped that once the plan is in place, more funds from large-scale developments could go towards schemes in the local community through a fund known as Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Bodmin is presently zero-rated for CIL meaning it doesn’t benefit as much from the funds as other areas.

Cllr Cooper told councillors: “We had a successful steering group meeting where we went through community responses from the draft plan presentation evening and the feedback with our consultants, Clifton Emery. We aim to crack on with the next stages with delivery before May 2025 and the assistant town clerk is liaising to push it through to Cornwall Council for calibration.

“Once we get through that barrier onto stage five of the process, it should be plain sailing before it goes to a referendum. The current plan is not set in stone, we don’t yet know what changes Cornwall Council might make to it, but even if it does it will put us in a good position to make sure it enables us to get CIL money available. If we had a neighbourhood development plan previously, we would have got more from it, but getting there is a slow process, and we are getting there. It will also allow us more influence with developers seeking to build in our area as to what to build and where.”

Cllr Cooper was thanked for his efforts by the mayor, Cllr Liz Ahearn.