SAFEGUARDING the character of a village is a key part of a proposed Neighbourhood Plan.

The draft plan for Sherfieldon-Loddon is now out for referendum and residents will now have the opportunity to vote on whether the plan should be adopted.

In the proposed draft plan, it states that the village will continue to be an attractive historic parish with the village green at its centre, surrounded by open countryside and with a range of good quality housing, recreational and other facilities that meet the needs of local people while maintaining a cohesive and integrated rural community.

The Neighbourhood Plan would coincide with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s adopted local plan, and would give residents a clear outline of how much development could potentially be built in the parish.

An independent examination was conducted by Janet Cheesley of Chec Planning and it was the results of these examinations which made up the proposal.

Bramley and Sherfield ward councillor Venetia Rowland told The Gazette the proposal is “robust” and will go a long way to protecting the village from future developments.

Cllr Rowland said: “I think it is really good that this plan is not site specific as it will allow us to keep the attractive character of the village without having to worry about new developments being thrown up.

“Of course we have developments allocated as part of the local plan. However, we have already spoken to developers about these plans and how they can be linked better for the village.”

Cllr Rowland added: “By adopting this proposed Neighbourhood Plan it gives us a clear indication of what residents want in the village and it gives us some for of resistance to argue what developments we do or do not want to see for the future of the village.”