THE SOUTH Oxfordshire village of Drayton is the latest area to develop a Neighbourhood Plan.
It is just one of the many communities across Oxfordshire taking advantage of new neighbourhood planning laws which allow communities to develop their own vision for the future.
And by law, those plans will hold weight with planners and developers.
Earlier this month, more than 200 residents packed into the village hall in Drayton and spent the evening scribbling on maps of their village while enthusiastically debating their favourite and least favourite features.
Named Drayton 2020, residents hope it will ensure their village develops how they want it to.
They were joined by the chief executive of Vale of White Horse District Council , David Buckle, who announced the council will contribute £30,000 to cover the costs of surveying.
One of those present was Janet Manning, 63, a homeopath from Newman Lane.
She said: “I am quite fired up about the whole notion that we can create a place we would like to live.
“This is one huge opportunity – that was the feel of the meeting. We need to make sure we don’t end up with some horrible development that doesn’t fit in.”
Residents’ wish lists included “better and more consistent” cycle tracks, reopening the A34 slip road, and more mowing of the millennium green.
The plan is being led by Drayton Parish Council chairman Daniel Scharf and resident Andrew Bax, chairman of Drayton Community Trust.
Neighbourhood Planning, which was introduced through the Localism Act 2011, gives ordinary people a statutory right to influence development in their area.
The residents of Thame are using their plan to steer planners away from the idea of a large housing developments on the edge of town.
Mayor Nigel Champken-Woods said: “One of the hardest things has been getting people to believe they can make a difference, this is untrodden ground.
“This is the greatest opportunity for the people of Thame to decide what goes in their town.”
The plan is now at a public consultation stage, and the steering group hope to hold their final referendum in March next year.
Residents of Faringdon and Wolvercote are also at the early stages of drawing up neighbourhood plans.
Oxford city councillor for Wolvercote Mike Gotch said: “Last week we elected a chairman and secretary, and we are just beginning to get together a six-page document of issues that people would like to be dealt with.”
Issues which residents raised include the proposed Northern Gateway business park and parking congestion near Cutteslowe park.
- To find out more about neighbourhood development schemes visit the website communities.gov.uk