A decision over whether to create a housing plan for a village has been deferred.

Earls Colne Parish Council says it has been encouraged by the support shown by residents to draw up a neighbourhood plan but still needs more volunteers if it is to press ahead with the scheme.

A public meeting was held on the issue last week and the council says a final decision on whether to create a plan for Earls Colne will be made during a meeting in December.

Neighbourhood plans are a government scheme aimed at giving small towns and villages greater say over new housing.

It sees residents and councils work together on a plan which outlines suitable sites for building and what kind of development they would like to see.

More than 50 residents attended the public meeting held at the village hall to gauge public interest.

Parish councillor Tony Calton, who led the meeting, admitted he was delighted with the turnout and announced some members of the public have already offered their services to the council.

He said: "We were pleased with the turnout for this meeting and we’ve got quite a few people signed up who are keen to help us take the matter further.

"We’d still like to hear from other villagers who perhaps could not attend but would be able to lend a hand – the more people who get involved, the better. We can’t do this without the active involvement of the community.

"At the present moment, the village is rather vulnerable to speculative planning applications from developers. If we have an approved neighbourhood plan in place, then we can have a more significant say in where new houses can be built."

If the council decides to go ahead with the scheme, it could take between 18 and 24 months for it to be completed.

The plan would help assess the impact the increasing population in Earls Colne is having on essential services such as the Pump House Surgery, primary school, roads and the environment.

Both residents and businesses would have a say on the plan and would be able to outline what facilities and resources might be needed to help future growth.

Anyone interested in helping produce a neighbourhood plan for Earls Colne should contact parish clerk Angela Emerson on 01787 224370.