RESIDENTS will have a chance in October to say whether they want to see a neighbourhood plan devised for North Hinksey.

A public meeting for residents to discuss the pros and cons of creating a neighbourhood plan is being organised by North Hinksey Parish Council’s working group.

The working group – of two parish councillors and five residents – was set up this month under parish councillor Ag MacKeith.

She said: “When it comes to developments it could mean that the parish council can say with a little bit more clout, no, that’s contrary to our neighbourhood plan.

“My little committee has been asked to set up the meeting so we can be as clear about the facts as we can be to see if it is worth the undoubtedly huge effort.”

Under the 2011 Localism Act powers were given to local communities to shape new developments by preparing a neighbourhood plan.

They can be drawn up by town or parish councils or neighbourhood forums, allowing residents to specify the nature and location of future development in their area.

But a neighbourhood plan cannot go through unless the majority of residents support its proposals in a neighbourhood referendum.

Councillor Simon Sellars – who is also on the working group – said: “I think the neighbourhood plan is essential going forward. There are a lot of changes going on around Botley both in terms of residential and commercial development, so this would be a great way for the community to have its input on where that development is going over the next 10 years or so.

“We are not often given this opportunity so it is important for the public and anyone with an interest in the area to put their thoughts across.

“It would be a lot of work but it is a real chance for the whole community to vote with their feet.”

North Hinksey parish councillors have split opinions. Chairman of the parish council Andrew Pritchard warned the project would be costly and time consuming.

A neighbourhood plan takes about 18 to 24 months to develop, costs about £10,000 – often financed by grants – and relies on voluntary community involvement.

A date and time for the meeting have not yet been set.