A blueprint for the future of Hartford will go before residents in a referendum on May 5.

The village’s neighbourhood plan was recommended to progress to referendum subject to modifications following an independent examination.

The plan has been some four years in the making, led by a steering group on behalf of Hartford Parish Council.

Empowering residents to say how regional and national planning strategies are applied in the community, it covers six key areas: transport and communications; local economy; local facilities; the built environment and character; natural environment; and housing.

Opportunity to have a say

Chair of the Hartford Neighbourhood Plan Working Group Cllr Rita Hollens said: “The parish council wanted the residents of Hartford to have a say in all aspects of the future of the village but more importantly it wanted local people to decide where new housing should go, what type was required and at what part of the population it was aimed, rather than leaving this decision to potential developers and Cheshire West and Chester Council.”

Among the policies outlined in the plan are that major development will not be permitted where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe; and the provision of high quality open spaces and sports and recreation facilities that meet the needs of the community will be supported.

Related: Referendum to approve neighbourhood plan likely to shape Helsby's future

A Cheshire West and Chester Council report by head of places strategy Alison Knight explained that neighbourhood planning enables communities to ‘establish a vision for their area and put in place planning policies to achieve it’.

If a neighbourhood plan is supported through a referendum, it forms part of the statutory development plan and becomes the starting point for determining relevant planning application in that area, along with the adopted local plan.

Hartford residents will be asked whether they want CWaC to use the plan when assessing planning applications in the future on the same day the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner is held.

A spokesperson for Hartford Parish Council added: “We’ll keep you informed about the practicalities of the referendum, but please remember that every vote for acceptance of the Neighbourhood Plan will count towards allowing the parish to have a greater say in the planning process and in the future direction of the village.”