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NFDC Tories promise Totton will not be forgotten again

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RULING Conservatives on New Forest District Council have promised not to backtrack on drawing up plans to regenerate "forgotten" Totton.

The promise came during a meeting of the council in response to Liberal Democrat concerns that the project might be abandoned after a previous attempt never came to fruition.

As reported in the A&T, the ruling Tory cabinet recently backed a move to produce an initial vision for the town, described in a report as “a key urban centre” in the area.

Totton precinct in the town centre (58212887)
Totton precinct in the town centre (58212887)

The progress of an initial consultation was raised at a full meeting of NFDC.

Totton ward member Cllr Mahmoud Kangarini, a Liberal Democrat, claimed Totton previously had a big plan in 2002 which was “torpedoed” by Conservatives.

He demanded: “Is there any guarantee that this time there won’t be any shortcomings? Because we had that experience of promises that never materialised.”

NFDC’s cabinet member for planning, Cllr Diane Andrews, sought to offer assurances that Totton would not be forgotten again.

She said: “We will be talking to many people – we have already starting speaking to the residents. This will happen, it will not be vetoed.”

Cllr David Harrison, another Lib Dem Totton member, claimed the town had been “forgotten” by the authority for many years.

He said: “I very much welcome some attention being made at long last to Totton and I’m sure that my fellow town councillors share that with me.”

Asking for proper consideration to be given to the town council’s view, Cllr Harrison said he would like to see more tree planting and the removal of metal barriers from the town centre.

An update presented to councillors in May outlined how shaping a vision for the town would play an important role in NFDC’s Local Plan, which sets out development outside the national park until 2036.

Aspirations include reversing a trend for piecemeal town centre development, and converting former shops into homes or leisure venues.

Other ideas include delivering cultural and heritage regeneration on public land and maximising opportunities created from the Solent Freeport.

As part of the consultation, NFDC has also launched an online survey through a questionnaire which runs until 2nd September.

To gain input from residents, businesses and local organisations, NFDC also appointed a team from consultancy firm Feria Urbanism, who took to the streets recently to ask residents for their thoughts.

Feedback can be submitted at www.totton-vision.org

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