EXTRA funding could be available for Fordingbridge if the town council produces a neighbourhood plan.

The plan is designed to allow communities to shape the development of their local area. A referendum of residents would then decide if it is adopted.

This was discussed by Fordingbridge Town Council last Wednesday in the Victoria Rooms.

Councillor Mike Jackson said: “With the number of houses that are coming to Fordingbridge in the next ‘X’-number of years there is downsides but the upside is it comes with a lot of money. It comes with the community infrastructure levy (CIL). Now as a town council we are automatically entitled to 15 per cent of that money. If we do a neighbourhood plan we are entitled to 25 per cent of it.”

CIL is a levy local authorities can choose to charge on new developments that can be used to fund infrastructure in the community.

Cllr Jackson said he had done calculations with the number of houses and it would be in excess of £10million coming in from the community infrastructure levy, adding: “If we do a local [neighbourhood] plan we get 10 per cent more, 10 per cent more of £10million is £1million. I think it is worth putting a bit of effort in to get that extra million.”

He said he was prepared to do “what is necessary” to produce the plan with the support of fellow councillors.

Council chairman, Paul Anstey said the town council had been talking about the plan for about two or three years, adding: “What has changed is this accessibility to effectively an extra pot of money and therefore I believe it more than a worthwhile project to support. Not to be taking this extra million I think would be a failing.”

Councillor Edward Hale said previously when the council discussed a neighbourhood plan it would have been using consultants, “committing the council to quite a lot of expense”.

Cllr Anstey said the council will pursue it further.