RESIDENTS are being urged to give their input on a blueprint which will shape the future of Cirencester.

Plans to get more children walking to school, more green spaces and better pedestrian and cycle routes are among the ideas in the draft Cirencester Neighbourhood Plan which has released today, Thursday, February 1.

Its primary purpose is to ensure that new developments in the next two decades align with what residents want.

A number of policies have been proposed which aim to ensure that new developments maintain a vibrant, connected, economically active town centre without adding to congestion.

In addition, it sets out a framework to improve connections of the outlying suburbs to the historic town centre by creating better connected footpaths, cycleways and public transport.

The plan also wants developers to prioritise affordable residential development for first time buyers and to improve sustainability of new builds through use of low carbon materials.

Once the plan has been officially adopted after a referendum - which will hopefully take place at the end of the year - it will hold a legal status and will be used to keep a check on developers.

Town councillor Nigel Robbins has been involved in the plan's creation since work began four years ago and is urging all residents to get involved.

"The plan sets out what we value in the town and how we want it to move in the future," he said.

"The town council isn't the planning authority but we can have some influence on what is being planned and proposed.

"A neighbourhood plan gives us some legal backing for our preferences and our objections to things that are brought along to planning.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cllr Nigel Robbins with the Cirencester Neighbourhood Plan draftCllr Nigel Robbins with the Cirencester Neighbourhood Plan draft (Image: Camilla Foster)

"People can just dive into different sections, you don't need to read the whole document.

"Residents can just look at sections that really interest them and make comments on them.

"If you support this plan you will have an impact because it will eventually set up a whole series of projects which can improve the town, for example creating new wildlife areas, new green spaces, new corridors between existing buildings.

"If the town is more pedestrian friendly then it should possible for children to walk or cycle to school independently.

"After the consultation period we will look at what significant shifts we need to make to the proposed policies.

"Hopefully by the end of the year the plan will be approved by CDC and will be adopted after a referendum."

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cirencester Neighbourhood Plan banner in Cirencester's Visitor Information Centre Cirencester Neighbourhood Plan banner in Cirencester's Visitor Information Centre (Image: Camilla Foster)

The Steering Group - which is made up of dedicated community volunteers, town councillors, CDC councillors and consultants - have been working on the plan since 2019.

Residents will be able to view and comment on its proposals via an online questionnaire which will be available on until Sunday, March 17.

Paper versions of the questionnaire will also be available at the Cirencester Town Council Local Information Centre in Bingham House and at Cirencester Library.

A three-day drop-in exhibition event will also be held at the Winstone Learning Centre in Corinium Museum between Thursday, February 22 and Saturday, February 24.