VILLAGERS in Wembdon are celebrating after the area’s new Neighbourhood Plan was overwhelmingly backed in a recent referendum.

On Thursday, July 4, a total of 596 residents voted in favour of the plan with 40 voting against - a 23 per cent turn out.

A neighbourhood plan sets out planning policy and once adopted by the District Council becomes the main document against which planning applications in the area must be judged.

It can identify key priorities for a community for land use, define where homes, commercial premises and other development should be built, protect locally valued buildings or green spaces and influence what new buildings should look like.

They cannot, however, override district or national policy regarding the number of homes that should be built and areas already designated for development.

The Wembdon Neighbourhood Plan was put together by a steering group led by Peter Reed.

“It was a long, drawn-out process but we are very, very pleased that hard work has paid off and there was a good turnout for the referendum,” Mr Reed said.

Neighbourhood plans require consultation with the community, drawing up plans and policies, which must be then approved by Sedgemoor District Council’s legal team and looked by an independent inspector who will recommend any changes.

Once approved by an inspector, the Neighbourhood Plan must then be put to a referendum of local residents.

In Wembdon, priorities identified in the Neighbourhood Plan include preserving the allotments, village green, and parklands, and protecting the church, parish centre, village hall, pub and village shop.

It will also preserve important Wembdon viewpoints, and promote the establishment of a doctor’s surgery in the village.

Sedgemoor District Council has already allocated land at Cokerhurst Farm for development, with plans for 675 homes in the pipeline.

The Neighbourhood Plan cannot impact whether this development goes ahead but can shape how it is developed.

To see the full Wembdon Neighbourhood Plan and related documents visit