Collated Consultation Review Jim MacDonald - Chair of Trustees
In the last two years the Parish Council has twice attempted to seek the opinions of residents regarding the Village Hall land and the Open Space that would be part of the development on the Steep in Need land. The first was conducted by the Parish Council in the autumn of 2020 and was focussed on how any open space might be used and what people would like to see on it. The second was conducted by the SWMVC in the summer of 2021 and sought views from the beneficiaries of the Charity on how they would like the land around the village hall to be used.
Neither consultation can be seen in isolation from the controversy that developing the SIN field has brought to the village. It is inevitable that change invites opposition particularly from those people for whom the change has the biggest impact. It is the job of the Parish Council to balance the views and needs of the whole parish. The results of each consultation must be viewed with that in mind.
Open Space 2020
There were 90 responses to the consultation which asked residents to focus how they would like to see an area of open space used seeking their support for or opposition to some suggested ideas in addition to asking for their own additional ideas. There was good engagement with the subject and a number of quite detailed responses. Clare Moriarty analysed the responses and the support received for each of them.
The table below shows the relative support for the suggested uses:
The table below shows the additional suggestions and how many people came up with similar suggestions:
Broader comments highlighted the linear nature of Steep and the lack of village centre. Some people commented on the association between the village hall land and the SIN field and that it may be an opportunity for re-designing the village hall land.
Village Hall Land
There were 87 responses to the SWMVC consultation that was focussed on the use of the village hall land and sought specific feedback on reconfiguring the layout of the land and whether it should align with the proposed open space in the SIN field. This was a more structured consultation since it was looking for a numerically ranked response in addition to providing a space for participants to write their own comments.
Alison Driver did an analysis of the responses in which she collated and graphed the numerical results and analysed to written comments.
The numerical responses (which were completed by all respondents), as graphed by Alison show strong support for better use of the village hall land for mental and physical recreation with an average score of 4.2 (max – 5) When asked about whether the open space in the SIN field should join with the open space on the village hall land it was supported but by a lesser extent with an average score of 3.5 (max -5). When asked about reconfiguring the village hall land opinion was split with an average score of 2.8 (max – 5)
Her analysis showed that of those who wrote comments (about half of the respondents) the clearest comment was not to sell the land and not to do a deal with the developer. Some respondents did not like the questions and some suggested the questions were were leading.
Every conversation we have with residents and every response we receive is useful because it gives us better information on which to base our decisions. Both surveys make it clear that there is strong support for better use of the open space for both mental and physical recreation. Both surveys expressed support for aligning the open space in the SIN field with open space on the village hall land. We did not get support to sell the village hall land to the developer and so we took it off the agenda and are not considering a land swap or any loss of control over the village hall land. The Parish Council took the decision to set up a working party to work with WDH to explore an option that would look at the combined SIN and SWMVC plot to directly respond the support expressed in both consultations to do so.