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Work on Ilminster’s Neighbourhood Plan is about to step up a gear! Can you lead us?

Postedon 23rd October, 2018 in News

Following a fantastic level of input from members of the community during the summer of 2017, work has continued behind the scenes, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and the support of Ilminster Town Council.  But things are about to step up a gear, as the interim Chairperson makes way for a new leader and action is taken to appoint a Neighbourhood Planning expert to capture the ambitions for the town.

The Development Group, which appointed its interim Chairperson earlier this year, identified four key topic areas from the feedback received from the community: Housing; Economy and Tourism; Environment, Leisure and Heritage; and Transport and Infrastructure.

A great deal of progress has been made in recent months, from the adoption of a comprehensive project plan, the collation of key evidence and the scoping of some initial vision statements for the topic areas.  Additional survey work has also been undertaken and will inform the plan, including the Housing Needs Survey, issued in conjunction with Ilminster Town Council, and a Business Survey, led by Ilminster Community Forum.

Natalie Wainwright, who was appointed as interim Chair in January 2018 acknowledged, upon taking up the role, that she would not have the capacity to lead in the long-term.  At a recent meeting she said “The process of producing the plan is expected to take two-years but the good news is, we are already over half way through!  The work completed to date contributes significantly to the plan’s development and, whilst I am fully committed to the project, I am unable to give the time, energy and leadership required to move us into this critical next phase.”

The Development Group is now seeking a new Chairperson to take the project forward.  This will include concluding the process of appointing a Neighbourhood Planning professional, who will be tasked with supporting the group in drafting the plan and delivering more community consultation events.

If you are interested in leading this exciting project to shape Ilminster’s planning future please first read the Chairperson’s Role Description and Person Specification (see document below) and contact Natalie Wainwright 07746 727002 for an informal chat about the role.  Members of the public, or organisations who wish to support the process of developing Ilminster’s Neighbourhood Plan, should email our Administrative Support Officer jswaldie@btinternet.com for more information.



  JOB DESCRIPTION –         Chairperson of the Ilminster Neighbourhood Plan Development Group

GRADE:                                  N/A – Voluntary

TIME COMMITMENT:          9 Development Group Meetings per year (evenings).  The Chair will be expected to meet regularly with Town Council representatives and the Volunteer Administration Officer.  The Chair will also represent the Development Group at various events and meetings with key stakeholders, including some occasional weekend commitments.

This role may be taken on for the duration of the Neighbourhood Planning process, a minimum of 18 months, or for delivery of an agreed phase of the project plan.

REPORTING TO:                 Ilminster Town Council

WORK LOCATIONS:            Home-based, Ilminster Town Council Offices and various community venues.


The Chair will lead and manage the Ilminster Neighbourhood Planning Process, ensuring that each member of the Development Group is supported to actively contribute and fulfil any duties and responsibilities allocated to them in the production of Ilminster’s Neighbourhood Plan. With the Town Clerk, the Chair will lead the Development Group through the appointment and management of a consultant and will also act as an ambassador and the public face of the Neighbourhood Plan throughout Ilminster and beyond.

Main Responsibilities/Tasks:

  1. Efficiency and Effectiveness
  • Efficiently Chair meetings of the Neighbourhood Plan Development Group bringing impartiality and objectivity to the decision-making process;
  • Provide oversight of all sub-groups;
  • Work with the Volunteer Administration Officer to agree a schedule of regular meetings of the Development Group;
  • Approve agendas and draft minutes, prepared by the Volunteer Administration Officer, for circulation to the Development Group, ensuring that agendas are well-planned and reflect the responsibilities of the group;
  • Ensure that any decisions taken at meetings are implemented, including their own;
  • Ensure that all members of the Development Group are fully engaged and that the Board takes collective ownership of its decisions;
  • Where consensus cannot be reached, the Chair may, from time to time, be asked to take an executive decision on behalf of the Development Group.
  1. Project and Financial Management
  • With the Town Clerk, prepare the specification for consultancy support;
  • With agreed members of the Development Group, sit on the panel to appoint a consultant;
  • Maintain regular contact with the appointed consultant to ensure progress is in line with the agreed Project Plan;
  • With the consultant, agree the most effective way of engaging members of the Development Group to progress key activities within the Project Plan.
  1. Reporting
  • Regularly liaise with the Town Clerk to ensure all agreed actions are in line with Council protocol, i.e. standing orders;
  • With support from the Volunteer Administration Officer, provide regular written and oral progress reports to the Town Council.
  1. External Relations
  • Act as an ambassador for the Neighbourhood Plan;
  • Maintain close relationships with key members of local government and other key influencers;
  • Act as a spokesperson for the Development Group when appropriate;
  • With the Town Clerk, approve any statements for use in onward communication to the public, via the Town Council Neighbourhood Plan webpage, social media and press releases.
  • Represent the Development Group at external functions, meetings and events;
  • Address any potential conflict with external stakeholders;
  • Support the development and delivery of the Community Engagement Strategy for Ilminster’s Neighbourhood Plan;

The above list is indicative only and not exhaustive. The Chair will be expected to perform all duties that are reasonably commensurate with the role.


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