RESIDENTS of a County Durham village are being asked to help shape its future development.
Using powers under the Localism Act, Gainford and Langton Parish Council has already begun work on developing a neighbourhood plan.
The parish is situated in Teesdale, midway between Darlington and Barnard Castle and parish council chairwoman Linda Britton said the plan would allow residents to take charge of their own destiny rather than be dictated to by others.
As part of the plan, a survey is being carried out to canvass opinion and draw up a list of priorities for Gainford's future.
Councillor Britton said villagers had come together several times during recent months to discuss future developments in the parish.
“From consultations over proposed housing developments to issues with flooding and the closure of key local businesses, the community has gathered to discuss how we can move forward,” she said.
“Central to this debate has been how we evolve and grow whilst protecting the quality of village life.
“It has underlined the fact that the people of Gainford and Langton want to be wholly responsible for the continued sustainability and development of their village rather than have it imposed on them by outside organisations.”
Coun Britton said the neighbourhood plan would aim to ensure infrastructure such as the village hall and recreation facilities remained fit for pupose.
“We also want to put in place activity that supports local businesses and creates employment opportunities for local people as well as making sure we have a good network of shops and cafes that villagers can rely on.”
She added: “A key message from the community has been that we want Gainford and Langton to retain its character and not become a dormitory of Darlington.”
Survey forms have been circulated with the new issue of Gainford and Langton's Parish News.
Forms are also available online at www.gainfordnet.org.uk and a parish council Facebook page has been set up at www.facebook.com/GainfordandLangtonParishCouncil
Completed surveys can be submitted to the parish council at one of a number of businesses, including the Post Office, Howeys, the Laurels, Simpsons the butchers, the school, the churches and the village shop.
Coun Britton added: “We will be working extremely hard to ensure we put in place a strategy that will see our village continue to thrive and prosper.”