A SURVEY undertaken by Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan has shown a passion for a thriving high street amongst residents.

More than 550 respondents completed the survey either online or face-to-face, sharing their views on the shopping area.

The importance of high-quality independent shops and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere were emphasised.

Recommendations for improvement included a greater variety of shops, catering to different budgets and filling gaps in the market, such as additional clothing shops.

Janet Georgiou, who launched the survey, is delighted with the feedback.

She said: “There is clearly a passion amongst the community for a thriving and vibrant town centre.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took part for giving us vital feedback on what the town centre means to them. This will prove vital in forming the plan we put forward to the local community.”

The town faired well on various fronts, with 82 per cent of respondents saying they felt parking was adequate or good and just 15 per cent arguing for more on-street parking.

There is also a clear appetite for shopping in person, with fewer than one in four saying they expected their online shopping to increase in the coming years.

Those taking part represented a wide cross-section of the community, with all demographics from the under-20s to over-70s.

Ringwood's Neighbourhood Plan will set out how development should occur in future years. The plan will be used to inform local planning decisions, and can set out land use for facilities, infrastructure, housing and employment.

The Town Mayor, Tony Ring, said: "For too long decisions have been made about development in Ringwood, solely based on the Local Plan for the District, which doesn’t necessarily meet many of the needs of local people."

Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, John Haywood, said: "Developing a Neighbourhood Plan is about all of us, the people of Ringwood, having a say in the development of our town. So we need people to join in and give their views."

The steering committee of the Neighbourhood Plan has launched a new survey asking for opinions on the housing need in the local area, which can be completed via the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSenqdFeuIYpiWTLKxGRI_PBy93v0m_ReuCnJG8fUcys8jTZAA/viewform