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Residents of Shaftesbury are invited to comment on a plan reflecting the local community’s vision for the town.

The Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan’s vision for 2031 is for the town to be ‘the best example of how an historic, hilltop market town adapts and thrives in the 21st century, working towards net-zero emissions whilst keeping its unique identity and character and respecting its beautiful countryside setting.’

The plan includes policies relating to the town centre, housing and employment, green infrastructure, design and heritage, and community and leisure.

It has been submitted to Dorset Council and is available for viewing and public comment until 4pm on Friday 20 March 2020.

Councillor David Walsh, Portfolio Holder for Planning at Dorset Council, said: ‘On behalf of Dorset Council, I would like to thank everyone involved in the development of the plan so far. It’s the result of hours of time and energy, and aims to meet the needs of the local community.

‘I would encourage anyone with an interest in the future of Shaftesbury to view the submitted plan and consider making comments.’

The plan, supporting documents, and response form can be accessed online from www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/shaftesbury-neighbourhood-plan.

A hard copy can also be accessed from Shaftesbury Library, Shaftesbury Town Hall, and also from the Council offices at South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester during normal opening hours.

Comments will be sent to an appointed examiner along with the plan. Depending on the examiner’s report, a referendum will be held for the residents of Shaftesbury to decide whether the plan should be adopted.

As the local planning authority, Dorset Council is required to consult on the Shaftesbury Neighbourhood Plan before the examination takes place.

At the examination, an independent examiner will provide a review of the plan and make recommendations in accordance with the 2011 Localism Act and related regulations. In particular, the examiner has to consider whether the plan meets certain basic conditions, satisfies legal requirements, and identifies an appropriate area for a referendum.

Neighbourhood planning enables communities to come together – through a parish council or neighbourhood forum – to have more of a say on the future of the places where they live and work. There is a legal framework to produce a neighbourhood plan. Neighbourhood plans have to undergo formal consultation, independent examination and pass a local referendum. However, if successful then they become part of the statutory development plan and will be used in making planning decisions

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