Community-Led Plan

CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE

In the first quarter of 2012 as result of publicity provided by AVDC a group of concerned local residents held a number of open meetings to consider whether there could be benefit for the Parish to consider a Community-Led Plan (CLP).

A presentation to the public was provided in the Village by Community Impact Bucks (CIB) who AVDC had been using to publicise and facilitate the establishment of CLPs within the County.

CIB explained that a CLP was an opportunity for local people to set out a shared vision for the future of the area, and to develop an action plan for achieving this. (Their detailed document that explains what a CLP is all about is available to download below.) 

They also explained that as a result of a CLP the Parish may also wish to consider putting together a Neighbourhood Plan to identify how and where future development would occur within the area. It was explained that this could be a timely and possibly expensive exercise.

It was felt by all those that attended that we might regret not considering a CLP and that we should establish a Steering Group to explore this further.

At the first meeting of the Steering Group I agreed to act as Chairman and the attendees agreed that we should do our best to encourage attendance by a cross section of the community and ideally individuals from the various parts of the Parish, members of the Parish Council and other local groups to ensure we were as representative as possible.

Although it has proved difficult to involve many others, meetings during 2012 have been well attended by a core group that has included Laurie Spragg, David Williams, Martin Riley, Tyanna Richardson, Zoe Jones, Judy Sharpe and myself.

We immediately realised that the size of the Parish and our limited resources meant that the Steering Committee would need to keep things as simple as possible and to focus on what was important and what it could practically handle and indeed achieve and afford.

We learnt that before anything else happened we needed to consult with the community and engage as many people as we could to find out what individuals thought were the main issues facing the Parish and the appetite for doing something about them.

We therefore initially used local events to engage residents to ask them to list what concerned them by using Post It note displays. These were reviewed after several events and it was clear that there were sufficient issues and interest to take the CLP the next step.

This we did by developing a questionnaire that included questions that our research showed were particular to the concerns of local residents and also gave free text opportunities for everyone to have their say.

Of particular note was the main question relating to planning where we simply asked whether you agreed with AVDC’s current – and what we were assured would be the future policy of ‘directing development towards the larger settlements in the district with no intention to allocate land for development in small settlements’ such as Leckhampstead.

It is normal for questionnaires to suffer from low returns but we set our aims high and were delighted to receive 58 returned surveys which considering the Parish only has 73 houses was a fantastic response!

We then set about analysing the results which we communicated at a high level through the Village Newsletter with the next level of detail being posted on the CLP webpage (below).

At the end of November the Steering Group met to consider the findings of the survey and to agree what action if any should be taken.

A key achievement of the survey is that we now have strong statistical evidence that we can use to demonstrate the local support or otherwise for particular issues. This we agreed we would share with the Parish Council and seek their involvement in taking forward issues that were appropriate to them.

It was clear from the survey that the vast majority of us love where we live and wish to preserve our village identity, avoid developments that spoil the look of the rural setting, and preserve our surrounding countryside and landscape.

As there was also strong support for AVDC’s current planning policy against new development in villages such as Leckhampstead the Steering Group deemed it would be inappropriate to create a Neigbourhood Plan particularly as we were advised that this should only deal with how development would occur. This matter should of course be reviewed if AVDC change or prove untrue to their stated policy.

In respect of the multitude of other issues that the questionnaire highlighted it was agreed that there were sufficient issues with strong local support for the CLP to create an appropriate and proportionate plan to tackle these.

Remembering our limited resources and our mantra that we must keep any plan simple, focused, practical, affordable and achievable we agreed that, rather than creating some bulky document, to start by attempting to make progress on the handful of key initiatives by seeking ‘Champions’ to take these forward in 2013 with the support and backing of the CLP.

These were agreed to be:

I Revisit the play area and a possible shelter

II Re-establish the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

III Keep our roads open and in good condition and drains clear

IV Enable better broadband and mobile signals

V Consider community oil/electricity/gas buying

VI Encourage and enable further community activities

VII Set up and enable a village communication database

It should be noted that the village does of course from time to time suffer from serious flooding and that this a major issue, particularly for those whose properties are affected. It was felt however that this is an issue that has been championed by the Parish Council which has consulted and communicated in depth with the community and that therefore unless something changes involvement by the CLP would be counterproductive for the community.

The Steering Group is now looking to identify appropriate ‘Champions’ for these issues through the Village News letter and by word of mouth and will meet in the New Year to agree the scope of each plan and the responsible individuals.

The intention going forward is for the Steering Group members and in particular me to provide help and support for each plan and to meet quarterly to assess and in due course to communicate progress to the Parish.

At this early stage I would mention that I am sure there will be frustrations and limitations to what we can achieve but the important thing is that we are on the front foot with these issues and exploring the possible.

We have already made good progress with the village communication database and I would urge anyone that has not already done so to provide their email and mobile details to Laurie Spragg ideally by email to Laurie@lksgroup.co.uk

I would like to thank all the members of the Steering Group for their enthusiasm and involvement and in particular David Williams for driving and facilitating the formation of this group, Laurie Spragg for his tireless work on the survey, Debbie Boyce for working with us to so ably communicate our findings via both the Village Newsletter and the Village Website and, most importantly, to everyone who spent their time filling in the CLP survey!

Lastly if you have experience and/or interest in helping us with any of our above key issues or have any other comments please do not hesitate to contact me.

Chris Blackham

Chairman Leckhampstead CLP

Tel: 01280 860271 Email:clblackham@btinternet.com 
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Deborah Boyce,
12 Dec 2012, 02:48
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Deborah Boyce,
12 Dec 2012, 02:47
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