FORDINGBRIDGE residents are being invited to get involved in drawing up a neighbourhood plan for the town.

A neighbourhood plan is designed to allow communities to shape the development of their local area. A referendum of residents then decides whether it is adopted.

A committee has been set up to move forward with the project and had its first meeting earlier this year.

Speaking at the town council meeting on Wednesday, January 8, Councillor Mike Jackson said: “Most organisations I have been involved with have always had a plan for a way forward and where they are going.

“I don’t think Fordingbridge Town Council has got a plan. I think we are letting people and businesses of the town down if we don’t grasp this opportunity.

“A thousand houses are coming. The local plan is going to be approved by May and then the developers will be submitting their plans - we’ll be ready for the changes this will bring .

“Our town will grow by 36 per cent, I doubt there has been any time in our thousand year history there has been such an expansion take place.

“We have a great responsibility to be prepared. If we don’t we would justifiable be criticised four our inactivity.”

Council chairman, Paul Anstey, echoed these comments, adding: “The opportunity must be taken.

“I feel the responsibility on the council to get actively involved.”

Cllr Jackson said the “wider the circle” of people involved in producing the neighbourhood the better it would be.

He said that revising the website to include a dedicated section on the plan would allow people to comment on it.

“At the end of the day, this neighbourhood plan has got to have the support of the town. We’ve got to go out and engage with as many people as possible to get as many ideas. Anybody who wants to join would be welcome.”

For more information call 01425 654134 or email