Parish Plan meeting reports
Councillor Walmsley advised the council that the Village Design Statement 6-week public consultation period is planned to run from 15 July to 26 August. All being well, the final version should be available for printing in October.
Annual Parish Meeting
The chairman announced that there had been a typographical error on the notice that had been distributed to each household in the parish. The annual parish meeting would take place on Wednesday 28 April 2010, not Thursday 28 April 2010, as indicated in the notice. The first item on the agenda will be a report from Sgt Hills, Hampshire Constabulary, followed by presentations from Mr Lancaster, Community Action Hampshire, Councillor Stevens on the Parish Plan and Peter Betts on the Village Design Statement. These will be followed by a Q&A before parish councillors present their convenors’ reports. Since a public meeting on this subject should be scheduled within the next few weeks, the council considered that it would not be appropriate to discuss the proposed safety measures at Compton school at the APM. (A draft copy of the VDS had been made available on the PC website).)
The chairman reported that, together with Mr Lancaster, Community Action Hampshire, he had visited a number of potential ‘exception sites’ for the construction of social housing within the parish. Mr Lancaster was in the process of producing a report, which should issue shortly. Councillor Walmsley advised that the Village Design Statement was close to completion and a printed version should be available during the summer months.
Councillor Stevens reported that she had recently received a very disappointing letter from the Highways Agency about the resurfacing of the M3. The Agency maintained that motorway maintenance had nothing to do with noise mitigation. She would be contacting the two main parliamentary candidates in the hope that the prospect of an election might encourage them to provide assistance. She would also be contacting the Hampshire Chronicle to see if the paper would be prepared to run another article. However she had noted the concerns of the Shepherds Down headmistress and would not include a reference to the school in any future articles about the M3.
Village Design Statement
Councillor Stevens also reported that the Village Design statement was very close to completion and she expected the final draft to be submitted to WCC this month. She had been very impressed with the hard work and research undertaken by Terry Wilson. Councillor Evans requested that, when the VDS are put out for parish consultation and discussion, paper copies should be made available for those parishioners that do not have access to the web. Councillor Stevens agreed.
On another transport matter, Councillor Stevens reported that she had been in correspondence with the Highways Agency about the resurfacing of the M3 between junctions 10 & 12. In this regard there had been a brief mention of the Council’s endeavours in the Hampshire Chronicle of 29 October. A more extensive article could be expected in the 5th November edition. She was grateful to the parliamentary candidate, Steve Brine, for his active support in the Council’s campaign to obtain a quieter surface for the M3.
Village Design Statement
Councillor Stevens reported that the Village Design Statement is now in its sixth draft and that, on the current timescale, the final one will be forwarded to Winchester City Council by the end of November. Councillor Evans wondered whether the VDS included plans for affordable housing. Councillor Beckett reported that HCC had agreed to sell land for this purpose at the end of Martins Field. Councillor Stevens offered to investigate further.
Councillor Stevens informed the Council that she was engaged in correspondence with the Highways Agency, Department for Transport and Mark Oaten MP on the need for the M3 surface to be renewed as a matter of urgency. Recent repairs had resulted in a marked reduction in the level of noise but it was imperative that the entire road system was resurfaced as a matter of urgency. Neither the Highways Agency nor the DfT seemed interested in accelerating the current resurfacing programme. She intended to raise the issue with prospective parliamentary candidates, Steve Brine and Martin Tod, to ensure that M3 resurfacing becomes an ‘election issue’.
Parish Plan follow-up
Councillor Stevens reported that she was very disappointed that the Highways Agency appeared to have reneged upon a commitment to resurface the M3 with a ‘quiet’ surface in 2011. She intended to write to Mark Oaten MP to seek his support in bringing the matter to the attention of the Secretary of State for Transport. Councillor Caffyn reported that speed light application forms had been submitted to Hampshire County Council and the chairman that the new footpath between the top of the M.P.F. was almost complete.
Parish Plan action plan
Councillor Stevens reported that she had made good progress towards implementing the Parish Plan. Volunteers for disabled and youth issues had been obtained. However, she was concerned about a lack of information indicating what activities are/are not permitted at the Memorial Playing Fields (MPF), where litter continues to be a problem. It was agreed that both issues should be addressed by the Playing Fields Committee and appropriate action recommended. Councillor Stevens also wondered whether the general public was aware of the amount of information available on the Council’s web site, particularly new arrivals in the community. Councillor Walmsley noted that the web site address is published in the parish magazine and Welcome Packs can be obtained directly from him. He would be happy to provide copies to councillors and parishioners upon request.
Finally the chairman reported that Councillor Stevens had prioritised the items requiring attention in the Parish Plan and was now looking for volunteers to work towards their implementation. It is to be hoped that members of the community, whose views were reflected in the plan, will come forward to assist her in making the plan a ‘living document’.
At the chairman’s request, Councillor Stevens agreed to oversee the work required to ensure that the recommendations outlined in the Parish Plan are implemented but hoped that she could count on the support of the Council and other members of the parish. The chairman sought, and received, the agreement of all councillors to assist on specific projects, when required. He was extremely grateful.
Finally, the chairman confirmed that Parish Plan had been distributed. He thought that it was an excellent piece of work and that he would like to record his appreciation of the efforts of all concerned. A special thank you should go to Peter Betts and Adrian Walmsley.
Councillor Adrian Walmsley reported on the progress of the Parish Plan Project. The final document is nearing completion and a copy will be delivered to every household within the Parish. Within the Parish Plan document, there are numerous actions to be undertaken under the auspices of the Parish Council. It is therefore evident that additional resources will be required for these identified actions to be progressed. Accordingly, the Parish Council will write a letter, which will accompany the Parish Plan as delivered to each household, calling for volunteers to assist with the progressing of the actions identified within the document
In respect of the Parish Plan Project, Cllr Adrian Walmsley advised that the Questionnaires had be distributed to every household within the Parish and that they would be collected in the next couple of weeks.
CASCA Christmas Party and Parish Plan
The Parish Council was pleased to note the excellent turnout for the CASCA Christmas Party, and will write to congratulate Peter Betts and his Parish Plan committee for their progress to date and for preparing the exhibits which were on display at the CASCA party.
Mr Peter Betts, Chairman of the Project Plan Committee, attended the meeting and gave a brief progress report. The Project Plan Committee comprises some 14 members, representing all four quarters of the Parish. Two of these members represent the Disabled within the Parish. A separate but parallel project to the Parish Plan Project is the production of a Village Design Statement. This work is being headed up by Mr. Terry Wilson and involves close discussions with Winchester City Council, Planning Department, if the resultant document is to have any impact upon Planning issues in the Future. Current activity within these projects is focussed upon developing Questionnaires which Parishioners will be asked to complete, thereby driving out the views of the Parish as a whole. In addition to these Questionnaires, it is planned to hold “Open Days” where Parishioners will be able to express their views on the Parish and the Plans for the Future.
It was reported that work continues on the Parish Plan project, the Committee having now been elected. The first meeting was held on the 27th June and dates for a further three meetings were set, at which work will be undertaken on the questionnaire and plans for an “open day”.
The subject of the Parish Plan was discussed and the meeting was advised of a planned Public Meeting to be held on 23rd May 2006, at which a Chairman and Steering Committee will be appointed. It is hoped that representatives from all parts of the Community will attend. To this end, the Chairmen of the various Residents Associations are being contacted to ensure that suitable representatives from each of their Associations will attend. Additionally, it is proposed to undertake a “leaflet drop” to every household within the Parish, advertising the Public Meeting and to encourage attendance.
As a word of caution, it was pointed out that the contents of the eventual Parish Plan document are the aspirations of the Community, towards which the Parish Council and other Authorities will seek to work. The fact that an issue is documented as a need within the Parish, it does not mean that such an issue will automatically be progressed to fruition immediately. The document will be a guidance document and used for prioritising future work within the Parish.
Councillor Adrian Walmsley reported upon the initial discussions concerning the development of a Parish Plan/Village Design Statement. There had been significant enthusiasm for pursuing the development of such a plan expressed at the meetings with the various Residents Associations. Further discussions with clubs and societies within the Parish will ensue. It is hoped to launch the project at the Annual Parish Assembly in April 2006. Whilst this project is being initiated by the Parish Council, it is recognised that it must not be a Parish Council project, but must be a Community led project for the benefit of the Community.
Cllr. Jeremy Dolphin will be hosting a meeting of the Parish Plan Working Group to which the Chairmen of the various Residents Associations are being invited. The purpose of this meeting, to be held on the 9th January 2006, will be to examine the benefits of and the effort involved in developing a Parish Plan and /or Village Design Statement. A representative of Otterbourne who was involved in producing their Parish Plan will be in attendance. It is hoped that by the end of this meeting a decision, supported by the community, can be made whether or not to progress a Parish Plan and/or Village Design Statement.
The Chairman, Cllr. Adrian Walmsley, welcomed Mrs Jo Dixon, of Community Action Hampshire, to the meeting. Jo Dixon had been invited to address the meeting on the issue of producing a Parish Plan. Whilst it is uncertain as to the effectiveness of a Parish Plan in determining the general outcome of Planning Applications within the Parish, it was generally thought that the existence of such a plan might influence the Planning Authorities to greater extent than having no plan at all. The inclusion of a Village Design Statement in a Parish Plan would add weight to the possible influencing of the Planners.
Unfortunately, there are no longer any grants available from Community Action Hampshire for assisting with production of Parish Plans or Village Design Statements. However there may be funds available from the Hampshire Strategic Partnership and it is understood that DEFRA are making funds available, but details of this are unknown at present.
The problem confronting the Parish Council in this issue is determining whether there is sufficient interest within the Parish to undertake the significant amount of work that is involved. Additionally, it is difficult to identify anybody who would be prepared to lead such a project. To this end, consultation with the various Residents Associations will be undertaken to determine the appetite within the Parish for such a project.
Significant discussion took place on the question of developing a Parish Plan. Cllr. Jeremy Dolphin had attended a seminar on this subject at which it was made clear that a Parish Plan does impact the Planning Process at Winchester City Council. It is envisaged that increased pressure will be brought to bear on those Parishes which do not have such a Plan. Compton and Shawford Parish is one such Parish. The discussions concluded that a Working Party of Parish Councillors will be established to determine the interest from within the Parish to develop such a Parish Plan. It is envisaged that all the Residents Associations will be invited to join this initiative from which it is hoped that a group can be established to undertake the work involved. District Councillor George Beckett will make enquiries within Winchester City Council with regard to obtaining assistance as well as possible funding.
Local Area Design Statement
The subject of a “Local Area Design Statement for Compton Down” being pursued by Winchester City Council was discussed at length. It is recognised that such a planning document will be vital in future deliberations concerning Development Planning in the Compton Down area. Also, it was agreed that such Planning documents will also be essential for other areas of the Parish. Consequently, the Parish Council agreed to fully support the initiative for Compton Down and to endeavour to take a leading role in the project. The resultant “Local Area Design Statement for Compton Down” could eventually form one section of an overall document encompassing the whole Parish. Accordingly, it is proposed that initial work will focus on Compton Down and at a later date that work will be expanded to cover Southdown, Shawford and Compton Street.
Under Planning issues, the question of the Parish Council embarking upon the production of a “Village Design Statement” / “Parish Plan” was again raised. Councillor Jean Millar is intending to speak with Mrs Mary Davies who had initiated such a Plan for Otterbourne Parish. It is understood that a significant amount of work is involved in the production of such Statements/Plans and numerous volunteers outside the Parish Council would be required to do the work. Failure to have such a Village Design Statement/Parish Plan would preclude this Parish from achieving “Quality Status”. Additionally, if the resultant document were not endorsed by Winchester City Council, the whole exercise would be a waste of time and effort, as the plan could not be “adopted” for planning guidance.
Cllr. Adrian Walmsley reported on his visit to the Planning Department, Winchester City Council. One of the subjects that arose during this visit was the issue of Village Design Statements and Parish Plans. Conflicting information was received from the planners as to the relevance and effectiveness of such projects. As a result, Cllr. Walmsley, with his Planning Committee, will undertake a review of the question of Village Design Statements and Parish Plans with a view to making recommendations as to whether this Parish Council should initiate such Projects. The problem with such activities is the necessity to get people other than Parish Councillors to undertake the significant amount of work.