A DORSET community is about to take more control of future development after submitting its final neighbourhood plan for examination.

The Cerne Valley Neighbourhood Plan, which was drawn up by local people and agreed with the parish council, has now gone before West Dorset District Council.

The area has been a front runner for neighbourhood planning after starting around three years ago.

Neighbourhood plans were introduced in the Localism Act 2011 and aim to give residents more say on the future use of land and buildings in their area.

If the Cerne Valley plan is approved following examination and supported by a local referendum, it will be used to make future decisions on planning applications.

The district council is currently consulting on the plan proposals before the examination takes place, with people who live, work or do business in the Cerne Valley area able to submit comments before Friday, March 7.

Leader of West Dorset District Council Robert Gould said: “Cerne Valley residents have an excellent opportunity to shape their community through the neighbourhood plan.

“I would encourage people who have any concerns about the contents of the plan or how it was produced to let the district council know their thoughts before the examination and referendum takes place.”

The plan can be viewed at the council’s offices in South Walks House in Dorchester or at the county town library.

Cerne Valley Parish Council also has copies available and be contacted on 01300 341464.

To view the plans online visit dorsetforyou.com/neighbourhoodplanning/west/weymouth or cernevalley.org