Notes from WNP Steering Group Meeting held at Walton Village Hall on Tuesday 12th November 2013.
Helen Massey (Chairman), Jonathan Bemrose, Liz Fairclough, Richard Fairclough, Libby Hall, Annette Hill, Philip Lee, John Leith, Sheila Leith, Colin Moran, Phil Roebuck, Dave Rolinson, Keith Shaw, John Smith and Ann Stockton.
Carole Crookes and Andrew McGuiness (WMDC) & David Plaut (Clerk to WPC).
Steve Baker, Alan Cottrell, Tim Howe, Christine Mason, Mick Dent, Norman Parkinson, Richard Tomlinson, Mike Wylie, Mike Dando & Nick Hall (both Planning Aid)
1. Welcome and summary.
Helen Massey welcomed new people to the meeting and brought them up to date with the purpose and significance of the Neighbourhood Plan and the funding and support that it is receiving. She explained that the questionnaires, of which there have been more than 300 responses so far, are to show people what topics the Neighbourhood Plan can contain, although the themes in the Questionnaire are a starting point and not fixed in stone.
She said that Steve Baker has stood down from the Steering Group because of work commitments, but wishes to remain involved.
2. Activity since last meeting.
Members of the Steering Group have been making contact with the groups with which they are engaging:
a) John Smith reported on the events he and Meryl Smith have organised with the Primary School and Crofton Academy. He had circulated by e-mail a report to Steering Group members earlier in the day.
He wanted to record how extremely helpful The Primary School has been.
He and Meryl had a stall at the recent Visioning Day on Friday 24 October, where contact was made with parents and questionnaires filled in. Four sessions were held with pupils and some of the work they produced with their teachers afterwards was shown at the meeting.
Crofton Academy was equally helpful, and its leadership team passed on the task of engagement to the Pupil Leadership Team who are given some executive responsibilities. The Pupil Leadership Team took the NP Questionnaire and amended it to make it fit for their purpose. This was then distributed to the Primary School and to the pupils at the Academy who live in Walton.
A suggested incentive scheme for completing the Questionnaire was deemed unnecessary by the Pupil Leadership Team, showing their commitment to the Plan and this was reinforced by comments from parents saying that the school is the hub of the Village.
100 questionnaires have been returned by Primary School 8 -11 year olds and 200 are expected from the Academy. He and Meryl are looking for help to analyse the results of the questionnaires.
b) Sheila and John Leith reported on a meeting held at the library on 8th November to which all Community Groups were invited. There was representation from Brownies and Guides, the Heritage Trail, the Library Group, the Community Centre and the Parish Council.
c) Landowners are being followed up. Yorkshire Water has already expressed support for the Pan. Persimmon report they don't have any holdings in the village.
The deadline for return of the questionnaires is 15th November, and banners have been put up to remind people.
Analysis of the information is ongoing. In general, people supported the propositions put forward and only 1 question attracted 'disagree' and 'strongly disagree' responses greater than 10% of the total on that question.
There were wide variations on some questions, e.g. some wanted a lot more houses, whilst others wanted no more houses.
Karen Rolinson is collating and typing up all the responses and Dave Rolinson listed some of the themes emerging under each heading:
Services and facilities: more allotments; more rubbish and dog fouling bins; better car parking facilities and consistent and improved signage.
Housing: support for the LDF plan of a maximum of 10 dwellings per development because Walton is a village; support for affordable housing; support for the Continuing Care Retirement Community development on The Grove; support to change the PAS listing of land to Green Belt; support for development on the former Junior School site. [The plan can have policies for the type, design, scale and size of developments].
Transport: improvement of footpaths, particularly along the canal and between Elmwood and School Lane; a pedestrian link from The Balk directly onto the School playing fields. Improvement of cycle ways. Not to have developments which imply increased car usage and to reduce parking congestion along Oakenshaw Lane. Not to support HS2.
Traffic: there is no unanimity about methods of traffic calming.
Heritage: try to preserve the core areas of the Village with its buildings and walls, and possibly introduce heritage type street furniture including lampposts and bins.
Environmental: protect the Green Belt, recreational areas and Nature Parks; implement flood alleviation measures; instigate tree planting and screening around the School; cut back vegetation overgrowing on footpaths; and litter picking.
Sports and recreation: support for the retention of all facilities; support for the proposed MUGA facility; support for enhancement of the playground. However, most people are against the Brook Farm development.
Next meeting: The next meeting will be a workshop where Planning Aid will help extract conclusions from the Questionnaire to draw up the Neighbourhood Plan. It will be on Tuesday 10th December at 7.00pm in the main hall of the Village Hall.
Future meeting dates:, 14th January, 11th February, 11th March, 8th April, 13th May, 10th June, 8th July 2014.