Cerne Valley residents will have more control over planning in their local area through the development of a Neighbourhood Plan.
Residents have already had several opportunities to shape the Neighbourhood Plan through drop-in sessions, meetings, mobile stands and questionnaires.
A Neighbourhood Plan aims to give residents more control over their local area, when plans for new homes, shops and offices in their town or village are considered.
The area the parish council proposes to cover in the Neighbourhood Plan are the four parishes of the Cerne Valley, including Cerne Abbas, Up Cerne, Nether Cerne and Godmanstone.
If you have any comments about whether this is the right area, please send them to the Spatial Policy team at West Dorset District Council by 7 December.
A parish council working group has hosted a variety of meetings and exhibitions over recent months, as well as producing a quarterly newsletter, and a dedicated website www.cernevalley.org
An event with the Prince’s Foundation last November also sparked a lot of interest within the local community.
The three-day event helped to create initial ideas on potential changes for the area from residents.
A meeting with local landowners took place on 11 September, identifying several key priorities which the Neighbourhood Plan will address.
Focus Groups have now been set up to consider housing, the economy and infrastructure, and the environment. Any residents who wish to be involved in any of these groups are invited to contact the Chairman Fred Horsington on 01300 341813 or any member of the parish council.
Once the plan is formulated, it will be independently examined and will also be subject to a local referendum to check it has the support of local people.
Hilary Jordan, Spatial & Community Policy Manager at West District Council, said: “Residents have a great opportunity to help shape the future of their community.
“The Neighbourhood Plan will give communities more influence regarding development in their area and Cerne Valley residents can get involved by contacting their parish council.”
Consultation on Neighbourhood Plan areas for the Buckland Newton, Piddle Valley and Loders are also taking place over the next few months.
Neighbourhood plans were introduced in the Localism Act which the Government passed in 2011. Regulations came into effect in April.
In areas where there is a parish council, the parish council has been given the powers to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. In other areas a neighbourhood forum must be designated for this purpose.
West Dorset District Council has a duty to provide technical advice and support to those communities who wish to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan. The district council is also responsible for approving the neighbourhood area.
More information on Neighbourhood Plans can be found at www.dorsetforyou.com/neighbourhoodplanning/west/weymouth