WORK on creating a Neighbourhood Plan for Pool-in-Wharfedale has reached a critical stage.

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and Parish Council have been working on the proposals - which if adopted will help shape future development in the village - for the past six years.

That work has involved regular consultation with residents but now the scheme is ready for a final, statutory consultation before the plan is submitted to Leeds City Council.

A leaflet has been delivered to every home in the parish to explain what will happen next.

In it, Parish Council Chair Councillor Hazel Lee says: "Following six years of consultation with residents, Pool Parish Council has produced a Neighbourhood Plan covering the civil parish of Pool-in-Wharfedale.

"The plan contains a vision for Pool along with a set of objectives, planning policies and proposals and community actions to achieve the vision.

"Following this consultation, the plan will be amended and then submitted to Leeds City Council, as required, for a further Regulation 16 consultation and independent examination.

"The plan, if successful at examination, will then proceed to a local referendum.

"Assuming it receives a majority vote, the city council will adopt the plan which will then become part of the statutory development plan - the Local Plan - for Leeds.

"Any planning applications submitted within the Pool boundary will then be determined in accordance with this plan."

The plan's key aims are described as being to:

*Ensure future policies reflect the needs and aspirations of the local community, and to guide and promote 'balanced and sustainable' change

*Preserve the character of Pool and its parish, and ensure its residents' needs are net in areas like housing, employment, education, transport, health and sport

*Help Pool continue as a distinct community and protect its natural and built heritage while enhancing the conservation area.

The statutory public consultation begins on Friday, September 6 and will run until 5pm on Friday, October 18.

The Neighbourhood Plan can be accessed electronically from the parish council's website at, where an electronic questionnaire can also be completed.

Hard copies can also be viewed at Pool Post Office and General Store and Otley Library, and the Steering Group is inviting residents to attend one of three drop-in sessions it will hold during the consultation.

They will take place at Old Pool Bank Village Hall from 11am to 1pm on Saturday, September 21; at Pool Village Memorial Hall from 11am to 1pm on Saturday, September 28; and at Wharfedale Court, on Main Street, from 2.30pm to 4pm on Saturday, October 5.