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Thatcham in line for improvements after community plan approved

Volunteer group Thatcham Vision can start work on 65 actions

Thatcham in line for improvements after community plan approved

A PLAN for Thatcham drawn up  by volunteers to help improve the town has been given the go-ahead.

Thatcham Vision, comprised of volunteers and representatives from Thatcham Town Council and West Berkshire Council, has had its community plan endorsed by the district council.

The plan features 65 actions for the town, ranging from childcare and support for senior citizens to improvements in local transport, safety, infrastructure and leisure facilities.

They include providing more shelter at play areas and looking to create a community bus service to and from Thatcham Station.

The actions, which were produced by six teams of local volunteers, were guided by the results of a community survey (which gathered 1,800 responses), census data and information from official sources and local knowledge.

Chairman of Thatcham Vision, David Conquest, said he was very happy that the plan had been signed off.

He said: “We’ve had a huge amount of positive and supportive feedback from the council officers on individual actions and our volunteers are now looking forward to working with them more closely.

“Many of our projects aren’t dependent upon the council for funding as we can apply to groups like Greenham Common Trust, so I’m hoping we’ll now make good progress.”

Now that its plan is approved, Thatcham Vision can access parish plan funds for capital projects and volunteer time can also be matchfunded at around £10 an hour.

The Thatcham Vision plan was recently approved by West Berkshire Council’s executive member for community resilience and partnerships, Marcus Franks (Con, Speen).

He said: “This is an ambitious, but deliverable, plan for the town, which I am very pleased to support.

“It is a strong plan not only because of the passion and enthusiasm of Thatcham Vision’s leadership, but also in the part local people have played in every step of its development.”

The approval differs from the council’s previous view under the former executive member for visions, Alan Law (Con, Basildon).

Mr Law had refused to sign off Thatcham Vision’s plan in February this year, saying that it was “largely a set of wish lists” and did not address strategic requirements identified by the district council.

In approving the plan, Mr Franks said: “As a council, one of our aims is to help communities to do more for themselves and this plan for Thatcham is a great example of communities taking the lead in developing their town.”

For more information about Thatcham Vision visit www.thatchamvision.net 

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