A GROUP is being formed in Dursley which will eventually be able to have a say on the type, and rate, of developments that are built in the town.

Dursley Town Council (DTC) is recruiting volunteers to help undertake a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) for the area, which will allow the community to have a much bigger say on future developments.

Under new laws for planning applications, settlements from villages to big towns, can form NDPs, which consists of documents produced by the community and contain maps, lists and policies for that area.

NDPs focus on shaping new development and are based on land use and planning issues around practical things such as design of buildings, traffic management, utilities and affordable housing.

It also deals with sites for allotments, provisions for walking and cycling routes as well as wildlife and landscape areas.

The plan will be subject to an examination and a referendum and, if over 50 per cent of people vote for the plan, then it becomes a statutory planning document – one that communities can use to support or challenge planning applications.

Concerns have grown in recent months by councillors and residents in the area to unpopular planning applications that, while refused at Stroud District Council (SDC), have eventually been allowed by Government planning inspectors.

Appeals on applications for 71 homes at Box Road and 19 at Elstub Lane in Cam have been successful because the planning authority believes SDC does not have the required five-year housing supply.

Forming NDPs for their individual areas will help settlements combat unfavourable applications in the future.

DTC clerk Helen Bojaniwska said the council recognised that a NDP would be an important document that can only be created with the help of the local community.

"Volunteers are now being recruited from the local community to work with DTC to develop a plan for Dursley, with professional guidance," she said.

"Individuals will need to be able to spare some time to help with the process and those with specific skills or knowledge are especially sought after."

An initial meeting will be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday, January 28, which will be a joint meeting with Cam Parish Council, facilitated by Gloucestershire Rural Community Council.

Dursley residents, businesses or organisations interested in attending the meeting and finding out more about the process should contact Dursley town clerk, Helen Bojaniwska on 01453 547758 or via clerk@dursleytowncouncil.gov.uk