VILLAGERS have drawn up a neighbourhood plan in a bid to protect their village from mass development.

Residents in Bishopstoke near Eastleigh have developed the plan to make sure they have a formal say on how development should be undertaken in their community.

It comes as thousands of new homes are due to be built across Eastleigh over the coming years.

David Hillier-Wheal, clerk to the parish council said: “We want the local people to guide what happens to our local area.

“Since local plans have been announced in 2011, the parish council have looked at options to bring a local plan forward and so one has been in the pipeline for the last few years.

“Currently, we have issued a questionnaire to give local residents their say which will help shape our draft policies.”

Villagers will then form a Neighbourhood Plan steering or working group, which is comprised of volunteers to prepare draft policies that cover many aspects of the village infrastructure and housing.

Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of neighbourhood development plans.

While these cannot block development that is already part of the Local Plan, they can shape where that development will go and what it will look like.

It comes after Eastleigh Borough Council started to debate their local plan for housing which will see 5,200 new homes built in the area to the north and east of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak.

Eastleigh Borough Council’s target was to deliver 16,250 homes by 2036, but a previous Local Plan for 2011-2036 was thrown out by a government inspector in 2014.

David added: “Once approved, Eastleigh Borough Council will then take into account the plan when determining planning applications.

“The neighbourhood plan is expected to be implemented within the next 12 months.”