RESIDENTS in Ringwood have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan.

83 per cent those voting at the referendum were in support of the Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan.

The resounding ‘yes’ vote means the plan will now be adopted and used by New Forest District Council and New Forest National Park Authority when determining planning applications.

The plan will hold statutory weight, guiding development and helping to ‘preserve and enhance’ Ringwood’s character.

The referendum, held on Thursday, July 4, had a voter turnout of 58.93 per cent.

There were 5368 yes votes (83 per cent) and 1084 no votes (17 per cent).

Ringwood Town Council said the adoption of the plan ‘represents a significant achievement in shaping the town’s future development, laying the foundation for a vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive future’.

Town Mayor Councillor Rae Frederick said: "The approval of the Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan is a remarkable achievement, and I would like to thank the dedicated councillors and volunteers from the local community who generously contributed so much of their time to make this happen.

"The plan will serve as a blueprint for a sustainable and prosperous future, ensuring that Ringwood remains a wonderful place to live, work, and visit."

Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee, Cllr John Haywood, added: "We are thrilled with the positive response from the community.

"This Plan reflects the collective vision and aspirations of Ringwood’s residents and sets a clear direction for future development of the town."

Listing the highlights of the Ringwood Neighbourhood Plan, Ringwood Town Council said: “Affordable Housing: The Plan prioritises smaller, affordable homes and will support a community where everyone can find a place to call home.

“Sustainable Practices: Energy efficiency standards will reduce our environmental impact, making Ringwood a greener place to live.

“Preserving Ringwood’s Charm: The Design Code within the Plan safeguards our town’s unique character and heritage.

“Increased Funding: The town council’s share of the Community Infrastructure Levy rises to 25 per cent, providing additional resources for local projects.”