In the Autumn newsletter OPC shared a link to a short Survey Monkey questionnaire offering residents an opportunity to rank possible priorities for the village and offer alternatives. The link was also promoted via the OPC website and Facebook page. It was open for about three weeks. A preliminary analysis of the 157 responses gives us a clear starting point:
Re-energising the High Street is a clear winner with a weighted score of 4.2 out of 5. Sustainable transport came second at 3.2. Local heritage and biodiversity were tied at 2.7 with sporting and leisure facilities at 2.3.
In the free response section, respondents went into more detail on one of these themes, such as maintenance and repair of heritage assets, keeping green field sites, promoting the footpath network. There were other ideas too – traffic calming in one form or another was a frequent issue.
One suggestion which came up often, usually linked to the High St, was to do something about parking. Hart are currently consulting on the paid parking in Deer Park View and the Bury car parks. We are looking at costings for free 30 minute or 1 hour parking options, as well as looking at the impact on all day parking for those working on the High St. OPC subsidy for this is one option.
As we develop our plans for the next 3 ½ years we will be guided by the Neighbourhood Plan (NHP). The monitoring group has been re-energised with the addition of two co-opted members, regular monitoring of the results of planning applications and responses to new applications that are informed by the policies set out in the NHP. It is encouraging that Hart are taking notice of the importance of the policies in their decisions and frequently cite non-compliance as reason for refusing permission.
Thank you to all those who responded to this first foray into consultation – do not worry if you missed out. As plans develop and opportunities arise we will continue to listen and seek views from the community we are here to serve.