A local community has taken a significant step closer to having greater influence over planning decisions in their area.

A final version of the Puddletown Neighbourhood Plan has been submitted to Dorset Council for examination.

The plan has been drawn up by local people, and agreed by the parish council, who feel confident that the plan reflects the hopes and views of the local community.

Neighbourhood plans were introduced in the Localism Act 2011 and aim to give residents more say in the future use of land and buildings in their area. For example the plan can say where new homes, shops or offices might be built or where important green spaces might be protected.

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

Dorset Council is required to consult on the plan proposals before the examination can take place.

People who live, work or run a business in the Puddletown neighbourhood area have until the end of Friday 7 August, to raise any concerns they may have about the plan. These concerns will then be passed on to an independent examiner to consider.

Cllr David Walsh, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “It takes a tremendous amount of work in order to pull together a Neighbourhood Plan. I congratulate all involved in getting to this stage.

“I would encourage anyone with an interest in the future development of Puddletown, to view the plans and submit any feedback they may have.”

The plan can be viewed online at https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/puddletown-neighbourhood-plan and on the Puddletown Neighbourhood Plan website: http://www.puddletownareaparishcouncil.co.uk/Puddletown_Neighbourhood_Plan_24839.aspx

Comments on the plan can be emailed to planningpolicy@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk.

Given the majority of Dorset Council’s Planning staff are currently working remotely, in response to Government restrictions relating to coronavirus, the council is asking that interested parties refrain from sending any comments by post if at all possible. If you have no alternative then comments should be sent to:

Planning Policy Team, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1UZ

Anyone commenting on the plan should let the council know if they wish to be kept informed of the progress of the Puddletown Neighbourhood Plan.