A very big thank you to all participants that have contributed to the focus group sessions held during the past months. This is an ongoing process and over the next month or so we will continue to reach out to as broad a cross section of our community as possible. The key aspect of a Neighbourhood Plan is that it must involve community engagement to ensure that the resulting objective, priorities and vision reflect the views of the community, hence we must be transparent in the way we have been obtaining our evidence gathering.
We have reviewed the findings to date and have started to collate the comments. Themes are emerging and it is interesting to note that we are finding common threads throughout all various focus group meetings held so far.
A draft “scoping document” based on this evidence is being formulated, pulling together the objectives, priorities and vision for our Parish community. The emerging themes are: Community/Social, Landscape and Amenity, Transport & Infrastructure and Housing. In particular the latter has shown an overwhelming need for affordable housing both for the young and elderly, or those with affordable family home needs. One aspect we shall be pursuing with regard to the latter theme will be to investigate the opportunity to provide affordable housing through a Community-led Housing scheme, an emerging Government supported initiative. Community-led housing allows local people to play a leading role in solving housing problems, creating affordable homes and strong communities in ways that are difficult to achieve through mainstream housing. It is a broad movement encompassing a range of approaches, including Community Land Trusts (CLTs), cooperatives, co-housing, self-help housing and group self-build, and can involve new build, regeneration or the use of existing buildings. We would welcome any thoughts or comments you have in this respect.
To ensure our “scoping document” is following prescribed protocols and to provide us with the comfort of knowledge we have undertaken the initial elements correctly, the draft has been presented to an officer from Wiltshire Council’s Planning Department. This Officer attended our last committee meeting and initial verbal comments were very favourable. We took away some key ideas to help us into the next stage which will culminate in an initial open Parish meeting where we shall present your ‘vision’.