There were 177 responses to LLRA’s recent shop survey, which closed on Wednesday 10 March. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey and contributed their ideas and suggestions.
The main finding is that over 90% of those surveyed feel Long Leys needs a shop. The key reasons are:
- Ease of access: “There are shops uphill but not everyone can manage the steep and busy road, especially with elderly and pre-school children.“
- Reduction in car use: “It would be great to not have to get the car out to pop to the shop! The alternative is an almost two-mile round trip on foot with a pushchair and a small child – it can take forever!“
- Provide a centre for the community: “More sense of community if there was a shop“. “I have children wanting independence in running errands“
A general convenience store / village shop is the most popular option. The community contributed a wealth of detail on the reasons why a shop is needed (or not) and helpful suggestions for locations to consider, as well as ideas for other facilities that could be offered. See the detail in the pdf document, Long Leys Shop Survey Summary.
Given the hugely positive response from the community, LLRA will now have discussions with retailers, landowners and local planners over coming months. The objective will be to try and identify any suitable and viable options for a shop location. LLRA will be exploring two potential approaches:
- Assessing suitable shop locations for inclusion in the 2021 – 2040 Long Leys Neighbourhood Plan.
Inclusion of a location would make it easier for a retailer to gain planning permission for a shop in that location, but does not necessarily mean that one will be built.
- Considering whether any location could be part of a Community Right to Build Order.
Under this scheme a wider project can be explored, for example a combined shop and community centre. If a suitable location is identified then planning permission could be approved for a development if a majority of Long Leys residents vote for it in a community referendum run by the Local Planning Authority (LPA).
Later this year LLRA will be asking the community for more detailed input on options (if any) that emerge from the discussions. Subject to any COVID-19 restrictions, it is hoped this can include the whole Long Leys community, whether offline or online. In the meantime, LLRA would like to thank everyone who participated for their fantastic initial response to the survey. This is the start of what could be a long and potentially difficult process to improve facilities in Long Leys, so it is very helpful to get clear views from the community at such an early stage.
Background to 2021-2040 Neighbourhood Plan
Development of the 2021-2040 Long Leys Neighbourhood Plan was suspended in 2020, as a result of delays to the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan (CLLP) caused by the impact of COVID-19. Work on the overall Long Leys Neighbourhood Plan will restart once a housing allocation figure is available from the CLLP. This is likely to be in Q3 2021. In the meantime, LLRA are building background information on key areas the plan will cover.
This activity is part of the Neighbourhood Planning project for Long Leys and supports the following focus area:
- A shop: Approaches to various retailers to establish what criteria would need to be met for them to consider operating a shop in Long Leys.
The Long Leys Neighbourhood Plan is being developed by LLRA and community volunteers, along with specialist support from a grant funded planning consultant and other specialist consultants. The overall project is being managed, on behalf of LLRA, by the Neighbourhood Planning Action Group (NPAG). See long-leys.org/neighbourhood-plan/ for more details on the project.