Residents have the opportunity to influence future developments in Wallingford by voting in the Wallingford Neighbourhood Plan referendum.

Five years in the making, the Wallingford Neighbourhood Plan has evolved from hundreds of comments made by residents, and through thousands of hours of work by volunteers.

Volunteers behind the plan say it is a forward-looking plan, developed by the community with policies to guide development, and improve the quality of life for everyone now and in the future.

Policies confirm the allocation of sites for housing, recognise and conserve historic assets, support a vibrant town centre and its businesses, and define a network of linked green spaces for everyone to enjoy.

The Referendum on May 6 is run by South Oxfordshire District Council and will take place alongside the local elections.

A volunteer Steering Group together with Town Council representatives produced the plan. It was independently examined by Andrew Ashcroft, a planning expert who knows South Oxfordshire.

He praised the Steering Group for producing such a comprehensive Plan and said: “The Plan provides a distinctive vision for the neighbourhood area. It is an excellent example of a community-generated neighbourhood plan.”

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He added: “It sets out a positive vision for the future of the neighbourhood and it celebrates the rich history and built heritage of the town. It proposes a series of local green spaces and policies to sustain the vitality of the town centre.”

If the Neighbourhood Plan is approved at Referendum, Town Councillors will use it to help them discuss and make comments on planning proposals.

The District Council will assess planning applications against the Neighbourhood Plan policies when they make decisions.

When the plan is adopted it will let the Town Council keep 25 per cent of the community infrastructure levy payments made by developers to fund local infrastructure.

At present they can claim only 15 per cent.

Steering Group member Wendy Tobitt said: “Wallingford is blessed with a vibrant community spirit which takes pride in using its many assets, physical and cultural, to create a strong sense of place.

“Preserving and enhancing those assets, whilst adapting to the growth in and around Wallingford, so that residents and visitors can continue to enjoy the very things that create and sustain this community-led way of life, is integral to the Neighbourhood Plan.”

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