The Piddle Valley could have a Neighbourhood Plan if residents give it the go ahead.

Councillors agreed at West Dorset District Council’s Strategy Committee on 8 February 2018 to go ahead with the referendum on Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan.

A local referendum will take place on Thursday 19 April, with local residents going to the polls to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposals.

The plan was drawn up by local people, and agreed by the parish council.

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 plan is supported by the local referendum it will be used to make decisions on planning applications.

Cllr Ian Gardner, Planning Portfolio Holder for West Dorset District Council, said:

“Residents of the Piddle Valley now have the opportunity to shape their community through the Neighbourhood Plan, as modified by the independent examiner.

“They may wish to ensure they are on the electoral roll if they intend to vote in the April referendum.”

You have to be registered to vote by 3 April 2018 to vote in the referendum. You can check if you are registered to vote by telephoning 01305 838299.

Details of where residents can vote will be on issued Poll Cards. Residents with the code ‘EO’ can vote at Piddlehinton Village Hall and residents with code ‘EP1’ and ‘EP3’ can vote at Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall. Polling Stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on 19 April 2018.

To vote by post or proxy in this referendum, you will need to have filled in an application form and sent it to the Electoral Registration Officer. Postal and proxy vote application forms are available online at dorsetforyou.com/how-to-vote or by contacting the district council.

Applications to vote by post must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 4 April. To vote by proxy, application forms should be received by 5pm on Wednesday 11 April.

The plan can be viewed online at https://www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/piddle-valley-neighbourhood-plan at South Walks House in Dorchester or Sherborne Town Council offices, Sherborne. The Parish Council also intend to ensure copies of the document are available locally.

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