WANTAGE residents can “regain control” of their town and decide how it will look in 20 years.

The town council has put aside £40,000 to create a Neighbourhood Plan, and wants residents and business owners to take the lead on it.

The document can dictate what new homes should look like, where they should be build, what shops look like, and what leisure facilities there are.

Created by the 2011 Localism Act, Neighbourhood Plans are legally-binding documents which all planning applications must take into account.

Wantage Mayor Fiona Roper said: “People have felt that they haven’t been in control with all the planning applications coming in and we haven’t been able to resist them. It is important to be able to regain control over our town.”

In the past year, Vale of White Horse District Council has given planning permission for more than 4,000 homes at the Grove Airfield, Crab Hill in Charlton, Stockham Farm on Denchworth Road and more. The plan cannot dictate how many homes should be built because it cannot contradict the Vale’s Local Plan for development, but it can say where they will be sited.

The council launched its public consultation earlier this month. It will hold the first in a series of public drop-in sessions at The Beacon (formerly Wantage Civic Hall) on Saturday, June 28, from 10am to 3pm.

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