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Stoke St Milborough Parish Council,

Full text

Stoke St Milborough Parish Plan


Index

Introduction     Page 1

The Parish     Page 2

Summary of finding of the Consultation Page 3

Housing & Development  

The Village Hall   

The Environment   

Communication & Technology  

Services    

Acknowledgements    Page 4


Body of the Report

Housing & Development  Pages 5

The Village Hall   Page 6

The Environment   Page 7

Communication & Technology  Page 8

Services    Page 9

Young Peoples Questionnaire  Page 10

Appendices

The Stoke St Milborough Questionnaire 
  
Response to Questionnaire

The Young Peoples Questionnaire

Response to Young Peoples Questionnaire

- page 1 -

Introduction

The Parish Plan, or the Community Led Plan, is a statement of how the local community sees the future development of the Parish. It reflects the needs & aspirations, based on the views & opinions of the people living there. 
An open meeting for all the inhabitants of the parish was arranged in November 2011during which the concept of Community Led Planning was explained. The attendees then formed into 5 groups and from the general discussions the views & concerns of the parish residents were recorded and used as the basis for the formation of the parish plan.

The Parish Plan sub-committee was set up at the request of the Parish Council late in 2011 and comprised volunteers from all the villages in the Parish. With guidance from representatives of Shropshire Council, the sub-committee set out to gather, more formally, the views of the inhabitants on the way they regard the development of the Parish over the next few years.

The way the information was gathered was by informal meetings with various groups of people with a common interest (nursery, horse-riders, young people etc.) & through a questionnaire which was circulated to every dwelling in the Parish. 
  
A questionnaire for Young People was also distributed so that their views could be taken into account. A separate section with their views is included, their opinions have been incorporated into the relevant sections 

 The completed questionnaires were returned directly to Shropshire RCC, who correlated & analysed the data, feeding the results back to the sub-committee. 
We distributed 332 main questionnaires & received 101 completed - 30% return, of the 53 Young People's questionnaires distributed, 12 were returned - 22%.

The survey questionnaire was divided into 5 sections: 
 Housing & Development 
 The Village Hall 
 The Environment 
 Communication & Technology  
 Services

The Young Peoples survey covered the following sections: 
 The Village Hall 
 Communication & Technology 
 The Environment 
 Getting About 
 The Future

Each section asked a number of questions asking the respondents if they "Strongly Agree, Agree, Not Certain, Disagree or Strongly Disagree"

Space was left for "Further Comments" at the end of each section.

From the replies to the questionnaire & the comments added, the Parish Plan was drawn up, with recommendations to  the Parish Council & other relevant bodies.

 

 = page 2 - 
The Parish 
(Figure from the 2011 Census- Office for National Statistics)

The Stoke St. Milborough & Hopton Cangeford Parish is a wide-spread region, essentially agricultural & comprising 5 villages with a total population of  409. The parish has areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, being located largely between the two Clee Hills (Brown Clee & Titterstone Clee) & straddles the main Ludlow to Bridgnorth road (B4364)

The main centre of population is Stoke St Milborough. The other 4 villages are: 
  
 Blackford, Cleedownton, Cleestanton, Hopton Cangeford.

In 2011, the breakdown of the population by age was:

Under 5's  19 
5 to18  65 
18 to 60 203 
Over 60 122

Of these, 213 were Economically Active, with 87 being self-employed, 10 being Students. 
Some 89 were Economically Inactive of which 56 were retirees.

These statistics show that while there is an appreciable number of older residents, the people in work well-outnumbered the retirees.

 

- page 3 -


Summary of findings of the Consultation.


Housing & Development

  • General support for a limited number of singly located affordable houses.
  • A 50 /50 division of support for a limited number of singly located open market houses.
  • Little general support for housing association houses.
  • General support for facilities for small scale  micro-businesses, so long as the local infrastructure is in place.
  • Any new builds to be sympathetic to the surrounding areas.
  • Concerns about housing in Hopton Cangeford suggest contact should be made with the Downton Estate.

 

The Village Hall

  • The large majority of respondents said they used the village hall and that they would like to see more events there.
  • There was some support for more sporting events, although nothing clearly identified.
  • Good support for more children's and young persons events, with mention of a youth club. These types of events will depend on volunteers to organise  and run them, it may also be  helpful to contact neighbouring parishes for alternative venues to give variety.
  • The "Summer Fun" event proved popular with the suggestion that it could be bigger and held on a Saturday.

  
The Environment.

  • Overwhelming agreement that people are happy with the environment.
  • Some dissatisfaction with the state of footpaths and bridleways.
  • The "Pound" in Stoke St. Milborough could be better signed & tidied.
  • Some support for more secular use of the Church although it has been used for local events recently.
  • There were many adverse  comments about the state of the local roads. (further comments in the "Services" section)

Communication & Technology

  • The Internet is felt to be really important.
  • The mobile phone reception is seen as inadequate by a majority of respondents although there is considerable variation across the parish.
  • The responses to Broadband reception was not clear-cut, with big variations across the parish.
  • A Community Website received overall support, many suggestions as to what could be on it
  • Alternative Energy projects received good support but wind turbines are not supported.

 

Services - ( Roads, Crime, Social services, Mobile Library & Shropshire Link Service. )

  • The general condition of the roads and the winter gritting service are considered inadequate.
  • Rural crime in the parish is generally not a major concern.
  • There was general agreement that an active Rural Watch scheme should be set up, possibly in conjunction with a Caring Neighbour scheme.
  • The mobile library service was generally thought to be adequate although comments suggest it could be improved by better promotion.
  • Although the Shropshire Link bus service has been withdrawn, there was some demand for the service. There is a limited service, currently on Wednesdays only to Ludlow provided by the "Ludlow Traveller." This service could be expanded if there is sufficient demand.

 

= page 4 -


Acknowledgements

There are many people who have helped and co-ordinated the formation of this plan, in particular (and not in any particular order):

 Lisa Bedford & Ruth Mansfield  - Shropshire Council

 Gill Porter & Sarah Botham - Rural Community Council of Shropshire

 All the voluntary members of the Parish Plan Sub - Committee 
  Brian Norgrove, David Parkinson, Claude Bodenham, 
  Marcia Vigar, Graham Price, Ted Thornton, Sue Gilbey, 
  Jeanette Powell, Jon Baker, John Roberts.

And last but not least, all the inhabitants of the various villages in the Parish who completed our questionnaires & helped us to build the Plan.

To all of these people, my thanks, as the head of the Parish Plan sub-committee.

         Ian Beech


.

 = page 5 -


Stoke St Milborough Parish Plan

Housing and Development (Questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

There is a general agreement that a small number of affordable houses could be built in the parish.  These houses should be located at no more than 2 dwelling per plot in order that the cost of services is not restrictive.
The opinions on Social Housing are not so clear with a number of respondents falling into a "not certain" group.  There is a 50-50 division as to Housing Association houses or developments being built in the area.  Hopton Cangeford and Cleedownton giving the largest responses for having these houses. 
84% of questionnaire responders agreed that any tenants of these houses should have local connections. 
There was roughly a 50-50 division throughout the parish for the building of a small number of open market houses but there was strong support from Hopton Cangeford. Blackford however had no strong support and little agreement for such houses.  While these houses would be subject to a levy, with about £10K per house coming back into the parish, there was a comment voiced that this could hold back the building of houses.  The levy returned to the parish council should be invested in other proposals identified in the Parish Plan. 
There was clear support for facilities for small scale employment but obviously, the infrastructure to enable this to work needs to be in place. 
Around 43% of those that responded to the questionnaire said that they or a family member may be interested in affordable housing in the future, but only 14% said that they would be interested in Housing Association houses.  Hopton Cangeford respondents however showed strong interest. 
Hopton Cangeford is part of the Downton Estate, it seems that many of the houses are tied properties, consequently there seems to be concern at the lack of housing not tied to the estate. 
A limited number of new homes are important to encourage people to stay and live in the area, and to stop any gradual decline of the villages. 
There is limited infrastructure, facilities and employment opportunities locally to support too many new buildings. 
New buildings should be sympathetic to the area and the existing buildings.  
Of the young people who responded only 33% will continue to live in the parish after leaving school / home, nearly 17 % thought they would move out, all suggesting that young people do not see their future within the parish - lack of employment and housing.

Action 

  • The Parish council will support affordable housing for people with local connections 
  • Will not support any extra social housing 
  • A suggested maximum of 10 open market houses with a maximum of 2 per plot spread around the parish excluding Blackford until 2026, to be subject to review dependant on the number of applications. The Parish Council to assess the number & location of planning applications at each AGM & decide if a further review is necessary. 
  • All new buildings will be sympathetic to the surrounding area. 
  • Give support to new small scale micro businesses 
  • Contact the Downton Estate regarding the concerns of the Hopton Cangeford residents about land being made available for affordable housing plots, or affordable houses to rent. Stoke St Milborough Parish Plan

= page 6 =

The Village Hall (Questions 9, 10, 11, 12 )

74% of respondents said that they already use the Village Hall, with some 58% saying they would like to see more social events held there. 
This shows that there is good support & demand for events in the Hall, with additional input coming from the Young People's questionnaire responses.

47% of respondents would like to see more Sporting Events at the hall - although there was no specific request for any particular types of sport.

61% would like to see more children's events at the hall. Again, input from the Young People supported this raising demand for a Youth Club & further Summer Fun events.

In general, the Village Hall received a lot of support from the community despite the parish being quite wide-spread (Cleestanton being furthest away) People would like to see as wide a range of activities / events as possible, so long as these are sustainable (Flicks in the Sticks mentioned.) The dependence on volunteers to run regular events is crucial. 
Contact with adjoining parishes could be helpful in setting up sports teams, youth club etc. so different venues could be used, widening the appeal to more people.


Action

  • As an addition to the questionnaire, a "volunteer" sheet was circulated with some 10 people coming forward. These people could be contacted with a view to forming a Youth Club Committee. Liason with nearby villages ( eg. Stanton Lacy, Clee St Margaret) could help attract more attendees. 
  • The Shropshire Youth Association & the Shropshire Council of Youth Workers  should also be contacted to assist.
  • The Summer Fun Event could be enlarged & possibly moved to a Saturday, giving opportunity for bigger attendance.
  • The Parish Council in conjunction with the Parish Hall committee should look at ways to better publicise the Village Hall & its facilities.

 

 

 = page 7 -


The Environment (Questions 13, 14, 15 & 16)

There was overwhelming agreement (93% of respondents) that people are happy with the area we live in.

The condition of Footpaths raised some issues, from the comments received, although only 25% of respondents disagreed that the condition of footpath / bridleways was acceptable.

Some action should be taken to improve the situation, responsibilities for maintaining these areas are divided between land owners & the statutory bodies, in some cases it may be possible for path users to improve thing locally. 
A first step may be to report problems to the parish councillors or to the clerk of the council, the council should then take action to resolve problems by talking to the various parties involved (walkers, "countryside rangers", land occupiers & local volunteers.)

The "Pound" in Stoke St Milborough has limited scope for more use, however some 30% of respondents thought there could be more use. A notice board identifying the Pound & an annual "tidy-up" including pruning of near-by trees are worth considering.

More secular use of the Church drew agreement from a third of respondents but the largest group, 46% were uncertain. The Church has been used for musical events & a display of local art more recently, with other functions planned in the future. The Parish Hall may be seen as a more versatile venue.

Action

In this section generally, the suggestions from the respondents have been as informative as actual responses.

The Parish Council should publicise its role regarding footpaths / bridleways.

The Parish Council should organise a Notice Board identifying the Pound & seek volunteers for general tidying & maintenance.

Regarding the use of the Church, the Parish Council & the Church should be working together to encourage more events with possible use of the Parish Hall as a more versatile venue.

The many comments on the state of the roads - drainage in particular - the Parish Council should report problems to the Highway Authorities.

 


             

= page 8 =

Communication and Technology (Questions 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

  
The Internet is now really important to the majority of parishioners. (93% of respondents agreed with this).

A good mobile phone signal is also now really important to us (68% of respondents class the signal locally as 'inadequate'). A detailed breakdown shows that this is more of an issue in some areas, which is not surprising, given the geography of the district. We are in a hilly district, and some areas are 'black spots', with no signal at all. In Blackford 92% classed the signal as 'inadequate'. Hopton Cangeford seems to get the best signal - only 57% class it as 'inadequate'. Of the young people who responded, 70% said their mobile phone signal was inadequate.

When questioned about the broadband signal, the responses were not quite so clear cut, 49% classing the connection as 'adequate'. and 42% as 'inadequate'. The young people, 67% indicated their broadband connection was adequate for their needs 
The Broadband service seems to be extremely patchy with speeds quoted varying from 7 Mb/s to 0.52 Mb/s. 
The detailed breakdown tells us that Stoke St Milborough village fares best, and the outlying areas worst. In Hopton, 83% say it is 'inadequate', 67% in Blackford say it is 'inadequate'.

Additional Note.

In mid-January 2014, Connecting Broadband Shropshire Partnership announced that Stoke St Milborough would be one of 18 communities across the county that would get high speed broadband in spring 2014.


We asked about a Community Website, and then asked for ideas from the community as to what we should put on such a website. 
There were more in favour of this than against (37% for, to 17% against), although quite a fair percentage were 'not certain' (47%). Of the young people, only 25% were in favour, however if the Youth Club were to be re-formed, a Facebook page for the club, linked to the website could be a good idea. 
There were some good suggestions as to what we could use such a website for: 

  • for advertising local events (mentioned 12 times) 
  • for advertising local tradesmen and services (mentioned 7 times) 
  • for items for sale / free / swapshop / local produce (5 mentions) 
  • for ideas / comments from local residents 
  • also: advertising church events, local transport information, house & animal sitting, weather, supporting the isolated.

We would also like to use this website for hosting our completed Parish Plan, which would be a sensible option, given the current lack of funding.


When asked about alternative energy projects, the majority of parishioners broadly thought that we should support alternative energy projects (70% were in favour, and 16% against). There were, however, provisos made in the 'Comments' section, and the most frequent of these were to the effect of 'not turbines' ( 12 such comments). We did not specifically ask about large scale turbine development; so if such a scheme is suggested, more consultation with the parish will be required.

Action

The Parish Council needs to be aware of the importance of better mobile phone signal strength and lobby to ensure that our area is not forgotten. 
Need to liaise with Connecting Shropshire, BT, and other mobile network providers.

As with the mobile signal issue, the Parish Council need to lobby for - an 'average' across the district is of no use to individual users in our outlying areas.

A Community Website is being set up. We will liaise with the county council, the parish council, and the existing parish magazine team and look at options for grant funding. 
We will aim to get the website up and running by early 2014.

The Parish Council should support small scale, appropriate alternative energy schemes, with consideration given to the environment, and location with regard to others - houses, paths, bridlepaths etc. This is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we must bear this in mind.

Consider a possible sharing of information regarding fuel purchase / bulk fuel purchase, and also a sharing of information about small scale energy generation experiences locally, as there are already  people who use solar and ground source energy in the parish.

      
- page 9 -

Services

( Roads, Crime, Social services, Mobile Library & Shropshire Link Bus Service. )

(Questions 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)

From the results of the Questionnaire the general condition of the roads within the parish during the year and the extent of the gritting during the winter cold spells were not considered satisfactory. 
Of the young people who responded, only 25% indicated that they had problems with transport. Use of public transport at week-ends and evenings met with general disagreement - Ludlow was the regular destination for 90% of respondents.

Crime within the parish was not considered as a major issue but the occasional presence of the police would be reassuring to the people within the parish.

The questionnaire results also indicated that an Active Rural Watch scheme and a Caring Neighbour scheme should be set up. 


The questionnaire results indicated that the current library service was not considered a major issue and therefore its future within the new parish plan should suggest that it be maintained at its present level.

The questionnaire results indicate that the need for the Shropshire link bus service is still required. Although the current service has now been withdrawn.


Action

Shropshire County Council (Highway Department) should be consulted to draw up some plan on how best to deal with the condition of the roads and the gritting service.

Further consultation with the Police at Ludlow Police Station to ascertain whether occasional patrols could be carried out.

As both the issues of Rural Watch and Caring Neighbour schemes cover a similar problem i.e. watching over people and property, it may be considered that these two items be combined. Further liaison with Shropshire Council Social Services and the police would be useful to give guidance as to how everybody within the parish could watch out for each other. I am sure that this  goes on in the parish at the present time.


The new Parish plan should indicate that some sort of link bus service be provided for the number of people in the parish that do not have their own transport. Further consultation will be required with Shropshire Council Transport and Social services departments.

 

 = page 10 -

Stoke St Milborough Parish Plan 
Young Peoples' Questionnaire


There were a total of 11 completed questionnaires from young people; 5 between the ages of 5 and 10 and 6 between the ages of 11 and 15.  5 respondents live in Stoke St. Milborough, 5 in Cleedownton and 1 in Hopton Cangeford.


The Village Hall

We asked whether we need more activities for young people to do locally and a large majority of respondents, 73% agreed.  There is some support for the restarting of the Youth Club (58%) and 75% say they would use the village hall, with strong support for sporting events such as football, cricket and bowling being held.  75% also showed support for the Summer Fun event.  There was a minority of respondents (42%) in favour of an outdoor activity area but 58% were uncertain, this is probably due to the majority of replies being from older children.


Communication and Technology


All replies stated that the internet is important with 67% saying that their current broadband connection is adequate for their needs.  However, 70% say their mobile phone signal is inadequate.


Only 25% were in favour of a community website; however a suggestion has been made that if the youth club were to be re-formed then a Facebook page for the club may be a good idea and this could be linked to the community website.


The Environment 

We asked how do you make use of the countryside and the most popular answers were walking and horse riding; cycling, running and working were also quoted.  We also asked if they encountered any access problems whilst using the countryside and 45% said that they did.  The main problems being fast traffic on the main road and overgrown paths. 

All respondents agree we should support alternative energy projects; the specific 'green projects' they would like to see are more recycling, solar panels and wind turbines.


Getting about 

We asked if they had problems with transport and getting around.  Only 25% said that they did and only 2% said that public transport was not adequate to get to school, college or work.  We must assume that generally public transport for our young people is adequate or that parents/carers are operating their own "Taxi" service.  We also asked if they would use public transport at the weekends and evenings and 25% said they would, 25% were uncertain with 50% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.  90% of those replying need to get to Ludlow on a regular basis with less popular destinations being Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury, Leominster and Hereford.

The Future 

33% of respondents said they will continue to live in the area after they have left school or home, however 16.7% said that they strongly disagreed that they would and 50% were not certain.