Stroud residents have voted overwhelmingly in favour of an ambitious plan which will shape the development of the town for the next 20 years.
In the referendum staged last week, 91% of voters said yes to Stroud’s Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The turn-out for the referendum was 13 per cent.
It is the first plan to be accepted in Stroud district and is the result of two years’ community engagement led by Stroud Town Council.
The next stage is for Stroud District Council to formally adopt the plan at its full council meeting in October.
It will then become a statutory planning document that can be used to support or challenge planning applications concerning the town centre.
“This is a great result for Stroud as it endorses the results of the extensive consultation undertaken over the last couple of years,” said Stroud town Mayor Kevin Cranston.
“The community has had its say in how the town centre will evolve and develop over the next 20 years. Now the Town Council has a much stronger voice in making these aspirations a reality.”
He also sounded a note of caution: “The Town Council cannot just make the Neighbourhood Development Plan happen, it still needs community involvement to move projects on and developers to come forward with proposals that fit in with the plan.
“Finally, I would like to thank the volunteers who worked so tirelessly to get the Neighbourhood Development Plan to where it is today, in particular Leonora Rozee, Hugh Barton, Steve Hurrell and Camilla Hale.”
A group of volunteers led the consultation for the Neighbourhood Development Plan. More than 3,000 people were consulted.
It has been praised by businesses and organisations including Historic England, the Federation of Small Businesses and the County Council.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan focuses on three key themes – making Stroud town centre more welcoming, healthier and thriving.
Following the consultations, it found that people want to improve the range of shops in the town centre, have better parking provision and less congestion with safer and more convenient pedestrian and cyclist access.
There was also a call for improved green spaces, the regeneration of the canal and more diversified housing in the town centre.