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Having a say in town’s future

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Residents of Southwell are being asked to help shape the future of their town.

More than 3,000 questionnaires will be delivered to households next month.

The results will help to form the basis of plans to develop Southwell during the next five years.

It is the second time Southwell Town Forum has undertaken such a survey.

After its formation in 2004, it wrote to every resident and town centre trader to find out how they wanted the town to develop up to 2008.

The information was used to create a town plan, focusing on aspects of life in Southwell that could be improved.

A working party will use the latest survey to create a town plan up until 2013.

About 100 volunteers will deliver the questionnaires, which will be handed out in the middle of June and will be collected by the end of July.

Collection will be organised through the town council.

For the first time people will be able to complete the questionnaire electronically and return it by email.

There will be collection points at shops including Mills Newsagents, the Spar, the Co-op, the Handicentre d-i-y shop, and the post office.

The Old Courthouse and Holy Trinity Infants’ School, Westgate, are also expected to be used.

The questions were confirmed at a meeting of the town forum on Monday.

They will cover environmental issues, lower-cost housing, policing, tourism and support for young people.

As well as tick-box answers, there will be space for residents’ comments.

Residents will also be able to list their top three priorities for the town. The forum is made up of representatives from groups in the town.

Those at Monday’s meeting included Southwell Civic Society, Southwell Traders’ Association, Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst Campus, The Workhouse, Southwell Community Archaeology Group and Southwell Town Council.

Feedback from the previous survey identified various projects that residents wanted to see carried out in the town.

These were detailed in the 2004 town plan under three sections — building a strong community, a good place to live and a vibrant trading environment.

Suggested projects to help build a stronger community included a Southwell festival, successfully held in 2005 and 2007, a town diary, now published every six months in The Bramley and to create a Champions of Southwell award scheme, held for the first time last year.

Projects to make Southwell a good place to live included the need for a survey of local playgrounds.

Since then improvements have been made to playgrounds at War Memorial Park, Norwood Gardens and Squires Pond.

The need for street cleaning in the town centre, particularly removing chewing gum, was identified. The town council paid for this to be carried out.

A need to assess the condition of the town’s footpaths was highlighted. There are now two wardens in place who regularly walk the path network.

Improvements to the town centre to create a vibrant trading environment have included a new seat in the Market Square and refurbishing The Bull Yard shopping arcade.

Additions to the town’s tourism facilities include six heritage trails and a tourism information office, which has been set up in the Minster Centre with a full-time manager.

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