Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has recommended that plans to protect the unique character of villages north of Andover should be approved.

The cabinet recommended that the village design statement (VDS) for Hurstbourne Tarrant, Ibthorpe and Upton be approved. Subject to a vote by full council, this will ensure that proposed developments in the villages must comply with the concepts set out in the document.

Paying tribute to the work of people in the villages, Councillor Phil North said the VDS would ensure the area remains “stunningly beautiful”.

Village Design Statements are supplementary planning documents which can be put together by local people to have their say on planning proposals in the area. They identify certain features of the village which make it unique, and set policies on how to preserve them.

Following a consultation, and adoption by the planning authority, these then become legally binding and must be considered by planning officers.

Test Valley currently has a number of village design statements throughout the borough, including villages such as Thruxton and Longparish. Towns can also have such a document, with Romsey currently having one while Andover does not. However, the town council is currently in the process of a consultation for its design statement for the conservation area in the town centre.

Hurstbourne Tarrant’s design statement specifies such features as maintaining views of the Swift Valley, preserving dark skies and using colour schemes that blend into surrounding buildings.

It underwent a formal consultation between September 18 and October 13 2020, with amendments made following feedback. It was then submitted to TVBC, with the cabinet considering it at a meeting on March 10.

Cllr North said: “Hurstbourne Tarrant is full of amazing people, fantastic businesses, has one of the most proactive Parish Councils I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with - and nestled in the AONB is a stunningly beautiful village.

“This VDS will help ensure it’s kept that way, providing an official design guide to householders and architects, carrying real planning weight.

“My thanks go to Andrew Russell, Andy Watson and the whole team for putting together such a good quality document.”

Cllr Tracey Johnston, also praised the VDS, saying: “This piece of work shows what can be achieved with voluntary. It’s an excellent template for all of our rural villages of which we have many so I applaud this piece of work.”

The document was passed without dissent and will now be considered at a full council meeting before approval.