Falmouth's Neighbourhood Plan, which if approved by local people could set the town’s agenda for the next decade, is going out for its second round of public consultation.

It will limit inappropriate housing developments, protect vital open spaces, create a new green corridor and provide a powerful tool that will help councillors to repel planning applications that threaten the town’s future prosperity.

Following extensive community engagement over the past two years, Falmouth Town Council (FTC) is preparing to share the first draft of its neighbourhood plan in a second phase of consultation, which will take place over at least six weeks from early December until mid-January.

If local people vote in favour, the plan in a referendum next year will be ‘made’ in law, form an integral part of the planning process and be considered alongside all applications that are decided by Cornwall Council, planning inspectors, or the Government.

“The neighbourhood plan provides everyone in Falmouth with the opportunity to influence the decisions that will affect the town’s future; from the way that land is used for housing, business, shops and leisure to the protection of green spaces, the design of buildings and the tackling of local issues,” said Cllr Candy Atherton, who chairs FTC’s neighbourhood plan steering group.

The objectives set out in this first draft include enhancing the town and its special qualities up to 2030 and beyond; balancing the competing needs for growth and development with conservation and improvement; and promoting development that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. The plan also outlines the need for further physical realm improvements both in the main streets and specific areas of the town.

“The aim for Church Street car park would be to transform it into a desirable destination with restaurants, cafes, marine activities and public space so that residents and visitors could take full advantage of some of the best views in Falmouth,” said Professor Mike Jenks from Falmouth Civic Society who leads the neighbourhood plan’s spatial strategy, integration and design guidance working group. “We are suggesting limiting the amount of parking spaces in Church Street but increasing capacity at the Quarry and former Territorial Army site on Bar Road; pedestrianising the main streets for part of the day and supporting the town’s shuttle bus, all of which would be essential to the successful realisation of this vision.”

In addition, the plan recommends developing the Quarry car park and former Territorial Army site to include housing for local people and/or students; proposes a green corridor between Tregoniggie Woodland and Swanpool; and emphasises the benefits of environmental improvements at Pendennis Point and to the seafront that would arise if a supporting application for grant aid from the national Coastal Communities Fund was successful.

It also recognises the role of Falmouth (and Penryn) as a key economic driver for Cornwall; supports the dredging of Falmouth Harbour; the generation of new enterprise in the maritime, advanced engineering and energy sectors; and the provision of small workshops and an innovation/home business support centre.

In relation to tourism, it proposes the revival of Prince of Wales Pier and the enhancement of The Moor; a new skate park at Dracaena Fields and measures to enhance Falmouth’s festival culture by attracting major international events to the town.

On the subject of student accommodation, the plan offers further policies to complement the recently-approved Article 4 Direction that prevents further conversions of dwellings into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in certain areas and ensures that any sites identified for purpose-built accommodation conform to clear rules on issues such as parking, on-site management and contributions to off-site policing.

A leaflet summarising the key points of the proposed plan will be distributed to local residents, who will also be invited to attend two drop-in sessions to find out more. Residents will be able to view the plan on a dedicated website or in Falmouth Library, where hard copies and summary leaflet will also be available to view. The neighbourhood plan steering group is also offering to present the plan to local organisations upon request.