The year sees Parish Planning celebrating its 40th birthday, from those humble beginnings in 1969 we have seen some 4,000 town/parish plans completed or underway and action plans put in place.
A very good example of this is the Holme On Spalding Moor (HOSM) Parish Plan, completed in 2006, which is held in high esteem not only within the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) but also many other organisations. This was demonstrated when representatives from the Parish Plan Action Committee (PPAC) shared their experiences at the ERYC Corporate Issues Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and more recently at a Regional Empowerment Meeting that I also attended.
The Parish Plan is a valuable community resource for the PPAC, the Parish Council, and for all groups working in the community. I also find the Plan very useful for me as an ERY Councillor particularly on things like deciding how commuted sums (community contributions from developers) are spent.
As we have seen in HOSM - Parish planning can get residents involved in community and civic activities, tailor ERYC services and those of other organisations more towards local priorities, attract additional funding, and can result in more residents taking responsibility for tackling things rather than expecting others to sort things out. Importantly it ensures HOSM has a voice.
There are numerous actions and projects that have come to HOSM as a result of the Parish Plan and are testament to its success. Some of the examples are as follows:
* The plan showed that 58% of respondents wanted to see improved CCTV around the village. The Village Hall Committee responded and CCTV has been extended and improved around the village hall area. This has been further extended with the aid of a grant from the Police Property fund.
* 46% of residents wanted to see flashing vehicle-activated signs for limiting speed, these have now been erected in partnership with the Parish Council and ERYC.
* The significant issue of youth activities was very high on people’s lists of concerns. This has begun to be addressed in a number of ways and by different organisations and their projects, and including trips to the indoor climbing facility organised by the PPAC, the provision of the youth bus and drop-in centre provided by the Christian Fellowship working with other groups, the youth shelter project (a thing that I have been pushing for) is hopefully coming to fruition as the Parish Council and the Village Hall Committee work together to deliver.
* 32% of residents indicated a need for swimming. Rather than look to build a pool in the village, a free Swimming bus was provided with this project being led by members of the Youth Forum and supported by PPAC, with funding from the Children’s Fund.
* The issue of litter and signage around the Village Hall was also high on your list of priorities (55% of residents) and has been addressed by extra bins, litter picks by the Youth Club, extra signs in the Village Hall car park and notice boards provided by the Hall Committee.
* It is widely acknowledged that one of the major issues facing communities such as HOSM is rural transport – it is not that easy just to jump on a bus like in urban areas. This was identified by some 38% of you as a priority in the Parish Plan, and is being partly addressed by the PPAC with some of its members becoming volunteer drivers who regularly drive groups on trips to the cinema, theatre, and other events such as the Lincoln Christmas fair, as well as the community bus which runs weekly shopping trips to Market Weighton and Pocklington, (which are on average 80% full).
* The exciting news is that a new community bus is to be based in the village, so trips for young and old alike will continue and I thank the PPAC and others for their efforts in achieving this and I hope that its potential will be maximised.
There is a saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail” but this is certainly not the case with HOSM and I congratulate the PPAC, the Parish Council and all the other groups and organisations for embracing the Parish Planning process, but more importantly I hope all organisations can work together in partnership, to continue down the road of delivering the PARISH PLAN.
Copies of the Parish Plan are still available; please contact me if you require a copy.