WEYMOUTH residents may soon be able to have more of a say in future development in the town.

It comes as the process begins to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan.

As reported, Weymouth councillors voted that Sutton Poyntz should be classed as part of the town in future planning decisions.

However, assurances have been given that although the Sutton Poyntz Neighbourhood Plan has effectively been torn up, the details of it will be respected and its contents included within the new Weymouth Neighbourhood Plan.

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.

Dorset Council has approved a request from Weymouth Town Council for the designation of a Neighbourhood Area, the first formal stage of preparing a plan.

The first step is to designate the neighbourhood area. The next is to set up a steering group with local community groups and businesses to work on the plan.

Once the plan is written, it will be consulted on locally and submitted to Dorset Council for independent examination. It will also be subject to a local referendum to make sure it has the support of local people.

Weymouth Town Council and Dorset Council are now calling for volunteers to help with the formation of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Those interested in helping with the preparation of the plan can contact the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group by email neighbourhood@weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk

Cllr David Walsh, Planning Portfolio Holder, Dorset Council said: “This is a great chance for people who have an interest in Weymouth to set out future development in the area.

"I encourage anyone interested in this opportunity to contact the town council to find out more.”

Cllr Lucy Hamilton, Chairman of Weymouth Town Council's Planning and Licensing Committee added: “Residents and businesses can work together to have a positive say in the future of our town. This is about all the communities across the Weymouth area and we look forward to hearing from you.”

More information on Neighbourhood Plans can be found at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Any parish council or parish meeting that is interested in forming a neighbourhood plan should contact planningpolicy@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk for more information.