In our last newsletter in June 2017, we were planning to hold open meetings in July to present village residents with our assessment of the various sites put forward by local landowners for inclusion in the Neighbourhood Plan. As part of the assessment process, each site was visited by members of the working group / team who photographed the site and made notes of its key features. The information gathered on each site was then reviewed by individual team members independently against specific pre-determined criteria, before being reviewed and discussed collectively with the aim of ensuring individual scores were based on the same methodology.
As a result of our assessments, the 24 sites that had been put forward were divided into three categories; Green – those that scored highest against our selection criteria (and were therefore considered most suitable for development), Amber – those which generally scored less well, and Red – those deemed least suitable for development.
Our next task ahead of the July open meeting was to agree the content and format of the questionnaire residents would be asked to complete at the open meeting. It was considered important for residents not simply to score individual sites, but also to be able to register specific views or ideas about the sites themselves, as well as on topics such as Holwell’s key features, affordable housing, appropriate level of new market housing etc.
Posters were put up and fliers delivered by hand advertising the meeting on the evening of Thursday 20 July, and we were delighted with the response – over 60 people attended, and several questionnaires were completed there and then. In addition, the information was made available on the Neighbourhood Plan’s section of the parish website, (see details below) and a second open meeting was held on the morning of Saturday 12 August, which was less well attended.
After such a positive initial response, it was disappointing to receive only 37 completed questionnaires, and it was decided to extend the deadline for their receipt to the end of September and to hold a coffee morning at the village hall on 20 September to give residents a further opportunity to view the information and complete their questionnaires.
As a result, around 60 questionnaires were received, and a detailed analysis of the results was undertaken to determine the village’s view of the sites put forward for consideration. We are planning to present this analysis at an open meeting in the Village Hall likely to be in late March/early April and via the Neighbourhood Plan section of the website.
Members of the team have also been working on a draft of the Plan itself, focusing on Holwell’s history, built and natural environment, key features, wildlife and green spaces and issues such as flooding. In addition, a grant was received from Locality specifically for an independent report by AECOM entitled ‘Holwell Heritage and Character Assessment’ which will be incorporated in the Plan.
If you have any questions about the Plan or the process, please contact one of the Neighbourhood Planning team or a member of the Parish Council, who will be happy to help.
As before, we would like to thank each and every one of you who has taken the time to respond to our questionnaires and to attend the open meetings, and look forward to seeing you at our next open meeting.
With best wishes,
Holwell Neighbourhood Plan Working Group members