VILLAGE PLAN 2007
The idea of the Village Plan was introduced in the Government’s White Paper, Our Countryside: The future – a fair deal for rural England, published in November 2000. The aim of the Paper was to give people living in rural areas a bigger say in running their own affairs. A Village Plan is a document drawn up by a community setting out what it wants for the village. Every Plan will be different but issues dealt with can include transport and traffic, housing and planning, crime prevention and facilities for different age groups.
A completed plan will highlight realistic actions that can be taken to achieve short and long term goals. Some of these may be taken by community members, others by the parish council. The plan should be endorsed by the parish council and will then form part of its policy. It can also be used to justify requests to other councils and service providers.
The Ashurst Wood Parish Council invited a representative from Action in Rural Sussex to the Annual Parish Meeting on 24th May 2005 to explain the benefits of having a Village Plan and how to go about preparing one. Those who attended then went into groups to discuss various issues they considered important in maintaining the quality of our village life. A Steering Committee was set up under Chairman Brian Phillips, with Keith Stacey as Secretary and Keith and Kate Bryant handling Publicity. In order to ensure that everyone in the village had an opportunity to put their views forward, the Steering Committee prepared a questionnaire which was delivered to every home and business in the village later in the year. The Committee also arranged a series of events where the members could meet with groups of villagers and discuss issues directly with them. The success of the plan depended on the participation of us all.
It was important that as many people as possible participated in the process so that the final Plan represents accurately what residents want for Ashurst Wood.
Following an excellent response from the village, with some 55% of questionnaires being returned, the Committee analysed the data and prepared a draft Plan. This was placed on the website for comments before publication of the final Plan, which was distributed to every household in the village and surrounding areas.
VILLAGE PLAN LAUNCH 23rd April 2007, 7.30 pm at the Village Centre.
The Village Plan was successfully launched at the Annual Parish Meeting on the 23 April, when over 120 people attended a presentation by Brian Phillips. The Plan was distributed to everyone in the village during May 2007.
Updates on the progress of the actions in the Plan were given at Annual Village Meetings in 2008 and 2009. The Plan is a vital part of the evidence base to the Neighbourhood Plan, being prepared during 2012-2014.