When preparing the evidence base for the Neighbourhood Plan, consideration has to be given as to how far back in time to go in reviewing existing documents and plans. Clearly the recent Town Framework of 2012 and the Town Forum’s Community Strategy of 2008 are relevant, and so is the Caradon Local Plan 1st Review of 2007. The 2003 WS Atkins Liskeard Action Plan may have interesting contents, as might their Liskeard Town Centre Regeneration Study of 1996, but how relevant is the Liskeard Local Plan of 1985? Or the Caradon District Settlement Policy and Plan of the late seventies?
Well, clearly the older a document is the less relevant it is to modern circumstances, so we should not spend a lot of time reviewing them. However, even the older documents have some value, at least in giving context, allowing us to see how the town has changed, and how persistent some of the issues faced have been. They can also be ‘mined’ for ideas, for example old initiatives that ran out of steam but might be worth a second look in modern times. So we need to keep them in mind, but they are not of any great significance to the creation of the Neighbourhood Plan of today.
NB. The very oldest documents, such as Allen’s ‘ The History of the Borough of Liskeard’ of 1856 (!) provide a purely historical perspective. They can sometimes be unintentionally amusing as well. For example, Wilkie Collins, famed for writing the early detective novels ‘The Woman in White’ and ‘The Moonstone’, visited Liskeard in the early 1850’s and reported on his experience in ‘Rambles Beyond Railways or Notes in Cornwall Taken A-foot’. He was impressed by the surrounding moorland , but wasn’t very complimentary about the town itself, as you can see from the extract attached below. Lets hope that, if he came back 166 years later, he would be far more impressed by what he found!