RESIDENTS in an Eden town could be taking planning powers into their own hands.

Appleby has applied to Eden District Council to become a designated Neighbourhood Planning Area - giving the community the chance to make its own planning decisions.

Appleby Town Councillor and Eden District Councillor Keith Morgan said: “Appleby’s character and townscape are significant features of its heritage.

"It is important that through community-led planning and designated area status, Appleby’s residents will be able to have a significant input into developing the town.”

People will be able to produce a Neighbourhood Plan that determines how development will be allowed to take place in their area, and they can grant planning permission through Neighbourhood Development Orders.

This kind of neighbourhood planning was introduced under the Government’s Localism Act to give members of the community the option of having a more hands on role in the planning of their local area.

Eden District Council’s Planning and Economy Portfolio holder Cllr Malcolm Smith said: “Yet another example of local communities in Eden embracing the opportunities provided to them by the Localism Act.

"Eden is very happy to support parishes that want to play a more active part in planning decision making.”

There has been strong interest in the Eden area with 26 parishes already having been given these powers, with more in the pipeline. Upper Eden was also the first area in the country to get such a plan adopted.