The start of what could be a three-year journey towards a Calne neighbourhood plan gets under way on Wednesday at the Town Hall.

Coun Tom Rounds, chairman of the Calne Community Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, will be giving a presentation on the plan and how it affects the town at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

This will be followed up by a series of five 45-minute workshops from 9am next Friday, and repeated next Saturday, which will cover housing, tourism and culture, transport, employment and health issues.

The Calne Community Neighbourhood Plan Stee-ring Group was set up around 12 months ago following the coalition government’s Localism Act 2011 which devolved the power to decide on the type, location, size and design of development to communities.

Coun Rounds said: “This is the start of the engagement campaign for the neighbourhood plan in Calne and Calne Without.

“I would implore people to come along and engage with us.

“We want to hear from the community about what their thoughts are on these issues.

“I am doing it because I believe it will be good for the community. It’s not just about this year, it goes out to 2026.

“However, this is not going to happen in the next six months, this is going to be a long-haul event. It could take three years to finalise.”

The Neighbourhood Plan, when finalised, will not be able to deny the requirements of the National Policy Framework, a central government policy, or the Wiltshire Core Strategy.

In September, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles overruled his department’s own planning inspector by rejecting a plan in Malmesbury, which has since become the first town in Wiltshire to reach the referendum stage of the plan.

Mr Rounds said: “The great thing about the Malmesbury case is it proves the feasibility of what a neighbourhood plan can give you.

“That’s a classic example of why communities need a neighbourhood plan, it’s upheld by the government.”

Comments for the plan can be submitted at calne@ or via the Calne Town Council website.