This is text for test survey 2
Update No 1 September 2010
This is the first of what is hoped to be a series of updates about the work on the Galleywood Village Plan. It will be sent to supporters so they can keep in touch with what we have been doing and are going to do next. It will also then be made more widely available through our website.
What is a village plan?
A Parish or Village Plan is a document that sets out a vision for a better future for an area and outlines how this might be achieved in a realistic action plan. It is a community led plan, written to reflect the views of that community. Consultation and engagement is therefore critical to its success.
A Village Design Statement, already completed for Galleywood in 2005, is another type of community led plan which focuses on the physical character of an area and how it can be enhanced. It looks particularly at planning issues e.g. buildings and land use.
Both types of community plans are usually written by a volunteer group independent of but supported by, the Parish Council. On completion the results are placed before the Parish Council for adoption. The Galleywood Village Design Statement was also recognised as Supplementary Planning Guidance by Chelmsford Borough Council, the local Planning Authority. It has played its part in the development of the Village and is still used by the Parish Council when looking at what comments to make to the Borough Council on planning applications.
It is important to realise that the value of the action part of the plan is that it reflects the view of the community AND has a real prospect of being implemented. There is no point in having an unachievable wish list such as ‘ban all on-road parking’. This will be an ongoing challenge for the Village Plan project.
The first steps for Galleywood
Not all of you may be aware that the journey started in March 2009 when a discussion paper was put before Galleywood Parish Council suggesting a group be formed to create a Parish Plan. At that stage the Council was very much pre-occupied with the work on refurbishing the Galleywood Heritage Centre, so it was not until some months later that it agreed to sponsor an open meeting to see if there was sufficient interest.
With the help of Parish Councillors Richard Hyland and Neville Paul the ‘VIP – Your Village Needs You!’ was launched, the poster recalling Lord Kitchener’s famous ‘Your Country needs you’ poster. This received an encouraging response of ideas (all kept). We also had a stand at the Annual Parish Meeting in the Heritage Centre and got some enthusiastic comments form parishioners – again all ideas have been kept.
We then held a Public Information Meeting on 20th April at the Keene Hall with Stella Meesters from the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) as our guest speaker. RCCE are the local experts in community planning. Some 8 parishioners attended and it was agreed that there was sufficient support to formally take the project forward.
Steering group formed and Galleywood Vision name adopted
Within a few weeks a formation meeting was held (12th May) and a committee established. A Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary were elected with others joining the committee. This group has met monthly since then with smaller working groups looking at project plans, communications, finance and consultation.
Although you may not have yet seen too much evidence of our activities we have been busy. This is a flavour of what we have achieved so far.
- written and agreed a constitution.
- created a budget.
- opened a bank account.
- created and revised a project plan so we know what we plan to do, by when and in
- written a communications plan identifying who we need to speak to and how
- agreed the name Galleywood Vision.
- created a logo.
- set up a website http://www.essexinfo.net/galleywood-vision/
- looked at the results from the Village Design Statement survey and what questions we
might like to ask again to see what might have changed.
- signed up to RCCE’s Community Planning Network as a founder member.
- secured grant support from Galleywood Parish Council which has enabled us to
secure the ongoing support of RCCE.
- Display at St Michaels Activity days in September gaining feedback and ideas.
Some early wins
In collecting all the ideas and comments it soon became clear that some of the issues were already in hand at the Parish Council or indeed had already been dealt with where this was possible. We spent some time identifying these ideas so that we could share them with the Parish Clerk and we understand that she has now written to many of those who raised the issue so they are aware of the work done or in progress.
Some early ideas
One thing that was unexpected and has come through strongly from many different comments so far is the idea of some kind of village celebration event. More specific ideas such as a Village Fayre, revive the carnival, a mass picnic on the Common amongst others have come forward and there may well be others. This is a good example of something that is not really part of the Village design Statement but fits well with a Village Plan.
We have now organised all the ideas received to date into ten categories which are used by Essex County Council as this seemed to be a sensible range.
- Arts, Culture and Heritage - Community Networks
- Community Safety and Crime - Education and Training
- Environment and Sustainability - Health & Wellbeing
- Housing - Local Shops, Businesses and Employment
- Sport, Leisure and Open Space - Transport and Traffic
Steering Committee changes
Unfortunately not everyone who joined us at the outset has found it possible to remain active on the Steering Committee. For a number of individual reasons Richard Hyland, Clare Impleton, Terry O’Brian and Jan & Eric Hardy have stepped down. We are very grateful for their help and expertise in the early months and all have asked to join the ‘supporters group’ to be called on for one off events and activities.
Ken Edwards (Chairman), Gillian Parker (Secretary), Neville Paul (Treasurer) remain and we have been fortunate over recent months to have recruited Peter Roscoe, Keith Milford and Graham Herbert so we are still able to move forward with a strong team.
Our meetings remain open and we have the capacity to co-opt members should any come forward.
What comes next?
Much of our work to date has been setting the foundations and we are now preparing to engage more widely with the residents.
We are in discussions with RCCE on the best way to consult in more detail with residents and this is likely to include a questionnaire to all households and businesses as a way to both widen the net and quantify the level of support or otherwise for future changes. Two members will receive some RCCE training on building questionnaires and the final version is likely to hit the PC’s and doorsteps in the first half of 2011.
A few end thoughts
As you will see we have created a ‘supporters group’ being a list of people who have agreed to be called upon for one off events and perhaps some delivery work if they are available but who do not want the more time consuming involvement of steering committee membership. We welcome this support and hence one good reason for this newsletter.
Our original target was to publish the plan within 2 years which would be by May 2012. We still hope to keep to this but the committee agrees that it is more important to get it right than to rush to meet an internally set deadline. Like many of you who read this, we are volunteers and all of us have other things in our lives at a time of economic and possibly social uncertainty which is bound to affect many in the village. So if it takes a little longer to get it right rather than rushed, we know you will understand.