A BLUEPRINT for the future of Colwall that has taken two years to formulate was handed over to the village library on Tuesday.

Forty copies of the Colwall Village Design Statement, which looks at the landscape, settlement patterns, housing designs, economy and transport are being held in the library for consultation by the public as the community joins a select band of Herefordshire villages to embrace the initiative.

The document provides guidelines for future development and was produced over two years in consultation with Herefordshire Council's forward planning department by villagers under the umbrella of Colwall Village Society.

"I just hope it'll make a difference to development here in the future," said parish council chairman Nicky Carless.

"In the 1980s, there were lots of housing developments taking place with standard designs all over the country which didn't take into consideration local character, materials or design and stuck out like a sore thumb.

"We're trying to encourage planners and developers to be more sympathetic to the local area."

Draft copies of the document were exhibited in the village and, after residents made recommendations, a survey was carried out and village groups and statutory bodies consulted - including councils, Malvern Hills Conservators and AONB officers.

Endorsed by Herefordshire Council in April, the 28-page Design Statement can now be used as material consideration in planning matters. The idea originated from a Countryside Agency initiative.

The other two Herefordshire villages that, successfully, have design statements are Leintwardine and Much Marcle.

With Colwall now following suit, Herefordshire Council is keen to promote the partnership aspect of the initiative.

Claire Rawlings, from the council's forward planning department, said: "I think the Colwall Design Statement is an excellent example, it's a very professional document and the village should be congratulated on it."

She added: "It is a partnership approach we are looking for rather than the parish going off and doing its own thing.

"I think what works so well in Colwall is the parish council is prepared to take our advice and work together in partnership."