POOLE residents have overwhelmingly backed a plan to shape the future of the town centre and Hamworthy.

People headed to polling stations across the borough to have their say in a referendum on a neighbourhood plan prepared by Poole Quays Forum.

It was backed by 92 per cent of those voting – 679 votes to 60.

The plan was designed to make Poole and Hamworthy a more attractive place to live and work and will set the agenda for any development planned for the area.

It was approved by an inspector last year after weeks of consultation and accepted by Borough of Poole last November.

It includes policies to protect open spaces, calls for high quality design in new developments and also focuses on improving the town centre and Quay.

Plans to add more facilities in the centre of Hamworthy are also included.

Chair of Poole Quays Forum, Bill Constance, said a “steady flow” of people turned out for the referendum.

He said many people he spoke to supported the plans.

“The general feedback was very positive as everybody wants to see a better Poole.

“People are concerned about the regeneration of sites and the high street.

“This plan really is about wanting Poole to be a better and more sustainable place. It’s very much based on the improvement of the public realm, and the lack of green space in the area. We have a lot of water, but not a lot of usable green space. We want to see that grow.”

He added the plan for the next decade “spells out a guide for developers and the council”.

It also ensures that 25 per cent of all the Community Infrastructure Levy charged by the Borough on new developments will be allocated to priorities identified by the plan.

Poole Quays Forum, which is now a registered charity, was set up in July 2012 and has around 250 members. Mr Constance said it was formed to give local people a say in regeneration of the town.

Polling stations were at Hamworthy Library, the United Reformed Church on Skinner Street, and St James Church Hall.