A referendum will be held on plans that will shape the future development of a Wiltshire town.

Wiltshire Council has confirmed the Chippenham Neighbourhood Plan can proceed to a referendum after examiner Andrew Matheson found that the document met the necessary legal requirements.

A referendum will now be held on the 144-page plan on May 23 this year.

The neighbourhood plan will guide the future development and growth of Chippenham for the next 15 years, if adopted, and has laid out several objectives for the improvement of the town centre.

It will hold weight on planning decisions made about the regeneration of several key sites around the town centre and beyond.

This includes the redevelopment of the Bridge Centre and Bath Road car park, which the plan suggests could become a “new public square”, surrounded by shops restaurants and cafes.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Bridge Centre roundaboutThe Bridge Centre roundabout (Image: Newsquest)

The proposal sees this “eyesore” site as vital to the regeneration of the town.

It read: “Development of the longstanding blight that is the Bath Road car park and Bridge Centre site is key to providing a new western gateway to the town centre.

“Development of the site would initiate an exciting growth phase of the town centre, to match the growth of the town as a whole and meet the needs of the expanded community.”

This could include redesigning the roads in the area.

The River Avon is another area that the plan’s authors see as important to the future of Chippenham town centre.

They added: “Poor post-war development, at the heart of the town centre, has resulted in the centre turning its back on the River Avon, when the river is one of the most distinctive and important assets of the town.

“Proposals will be supported where they contribute towards enhancing the River Avon as a defining connecting feature in the revitalisation of Chippenham town centre.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The River Avon at ChippenhamThe River Avon at Chippenham (Image: Newsquest)

The plan would support providing “active frontages” onto the river and Monkton Park by redeveloping the Emery Gate shopping centre and other High Street properties.

Other objectives for the town centre set out by the plan include identifying sites which could be developed to enhance or increase the attractiveness of the “public realm.”

This includes the Upper Market Place, where there are hopes to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

Ahead of the vote, residents will be able to view the documents in full at Chippenham Town Council on the High Street, Stanley Park Sports Ground, and Chippenham Museum.