Jobs, business growth, transport links and housing needs from now until 2033 were discussed by Sunderland’s Youth Parliament this week at a special event to focus on the city’s Draft Core and Development Plan.
The local Youth Parliament questioned City Council planners following a presentation about the Plan, which also targets challenges such as deprivation and rising obesity within the city, and includes leisure and retail requirements and environmental concerns.
Sunderland Youth Parliament is a group of 22 young people, aged 11 to 18, who work to give a voice to children and teenagers in Sunderland. The group works with Together for Children to help shape services in the city, regularly meeting with staff as well as Sunderland’s councillors and MPs.
The lively debate that followed the talk highlighted the level of involvement and interest from the young audience. Audience questions covered key aspects of the Plan including new highways, the certainty of completion of developments within the Plan, sports facilities, travellers’ sites and green belt issues.
The Plan, a requirement for all local authorities, is based on in-depth research by Sunderland City Council into every aspect of the city’s future needs.
Cllr Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s great to see young people so motivated and involved with what will happen to their city in the future. I’m delighted the Youth Parliament took part in the debate about the draft Plan. Events such as this play a very important role in helping us decide upon the future shape of our city. We want as many people as possible to have their say about the Plan during the consultation period because it will affect not only the younger generation but all of us who live and work in the city up to 2033.”
Tom Newton, member of the Youth Parliament, enjoyed the Local Plan presentation. He said: “Consultation in every form is incredibly important. It’s giving people who are going to be experiencing the effects of the Plan the information they need.
“It’s important for young people to be involved, and for all areas of the city to take part. At the consultation events it’d be good for families to come along because each generation has their own ideas and priorities. The presentation was easy to understand, accessible and informative. I wasn’t aware of some of the aspects of the Plan and the consultation gives us a good overview.”
Fellow Youth Parliament member Rachel Krajovska said: “This has been a good introduction to the Plan, and it was put across in a clear way. It means I can now talk about it to others, and although I was aware of some aspects of the Plan I wasn’t aware of others, such as the redevelopments.
“It’s great for the Youth Parliament to be involved in this sort of consultation. It’s exactly why we exist – to be part of the city’s activities and plans for the future.
“There’s a lot to do in the Plan and I hope the big ideas turn into action. I’m sure we’ll be nicely surprised with the developments as they come along – we’ll have to wait and see.”
Everyone is welcome to come to the consultation events which are taking place from Monday 18 September to Friday 22 September across the city. Find out venues and times at http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=19109&p=0.
Further information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 077711 698246.