Residents in Ripley are to vote on a draft plan outlining proposals for development in the area.
The Planning Inspectorate has ruled that the draft Ripley Neighborhood Plan is legal – meaning it can be subject to a public vote in the spring.
The draft document includes the town of Ripley, together with villages and other areas in the parish, including Waingroves, Sawmills, Heage, Bullbridge and Ambergate.
It outlines proposed locations for new homes in the area, providing a “clear and distinctive vision for how the town of Ripley will grow and develop up to 2028”.
If approved by voters, the draft plan would become the official Ripley Neighbourhood Development Plan and all planning applications made in the area would be assessed against it and not Amber Valley Borough Council’s (AVBC) Core Strategy.
Ripley Town Council said this would result in fewer housing developments than AVBC is proposing and provide full protection of green spaces, water courses and woodland throughout the town.
The draft Ripley Neighbourhood Plan has been developed over three years. During that time, more than 40 volunteers have helped compile it and £50,000 has been spent on it.
Councillor Steve Freeborn, leader of the town council, said: “This is great news for Ripley and a credit to everyone who took part in getting it all together.
“On behalf of the town council, I’d like to thank everyone who had any part in the journey.
“But now the final say will be with local people and I shall be doing my best to make sure everyone knows what a difference voting ‘yes’ will make.”
The draft Ripley Neighbourhood Plan states: “The overwhelming view from local people is that they value the individual character of the town and surrounding area.
“Local people and businesses have indicated a desire to increase and improve the range of facilities and services available in the area and for Ripley to be more self-sufficient.
“There is a strong preference for new development to take place on previously developed brownfield sites, with a corresponding minimal reliance on greenfield sites, with particular emphasis on the avoidance of the use of land within the greenbelt if possible.
“The community has indicated that the character of the area is founded upon the important open spaces within and around Ripley town itself and the countryside in the wider area.
“This includes several heritage features of great significance which should be afforded appropriate protection.”
It is hoped the referendum will be held on Thursday, May 7, the same day as the General Election.
A town council spokesman said: “This would maximise voter participation and give value for money by only having a single polling day, but the date of the referendum is to be set by AVBC which is considering the options.”
The draft Ripley Neighbourhood Plan is available for residents to view on both the town council and AVBC websites.