STRATFORD District Council has approved its proposed Submission Core Strategy, which will guide development in the district for the next 17years.

Members approved the document at a full council meeting on Monday which will now be formally published and subject to a six week period of public consultation, where people can comment on the soundness of the document.

These final comments will be forwarded to the Government’s independent inspector who will hold a public examination of the document before making a recommendation to the council on whether the Core Strategy can be adopted.

The document identifies the broad locations, scale and type of development and supporting infrastructure that will take place in the District as well as highlighting those areas which will be protected from future development.

The proposals include planning for 10,800 new homes in the Stratford district, an average of 540 a year, including 3,000 at Gaydon and Lightorne Health, 235 in Shipston and 222 in Bidford-on-Avon.

Councillor Chris Saint, leader of the council who has led the process to develop the Local Plan, said: "One of the main features of our Core Strategy is to preserve the character of local communities.

"Although the scale of new housing is delivered with a new settlement of 2,500 new homes, our policies will otherwise encourage small scale development with a further 8,300 new homes dispersed around the District.

"The plan will protect existing communities from merging into each other. Areas of Restraint will continue to encourage open spaces around our historic small towns and Special Landscape Areas will protect the character of important rural heritage."

Preparing the Core Strategy has been a major undertaking for the District Council and the document has been developed through a number of consultation phases and is founded on a substantial amount of background evidence and research in conjunction with the Planning Inspectorate.

Dave Nash, Policy Manager (Planning and Housing) for Stratford District Council, said: “The Core Strategy is a hugely important document as ultimately it lays out the vision on how Stratford District could look in 2031.

"Residents, community groups and organisations took a lot of time submitting comments on the draft document and we have made changes to reflect those suggestions where possible."