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Pitminster Parish Plan Introduction

The concept of Parish Plans represents a new approach to planning, providing an opportunity for every member of the community to say how they think the parish should develop; and, based on those views, to produce a Plan which seeks to preserve, enhance and develop the quality of life for everyone. 

  • The first step in developing our Plan was to hold an open meeting in the Church of St. Mary and St. Andrew, Pitminster in May 2004 to explain the concept to the community and to identify volunteers to form a Steering Group. 

  • This was followed by a presentation event organised in conjunction with a Big Walk in October 2004, with 150 participants, which provided an opportunity for people to express views on how they wanted the parish to develop. The information obtained at this and other subsequent parish events enabled the Steering Group to prepare a questionnaire, which as far as possible addressed the interests, concerns and aspirations of the whole community. 

  • The questionnaires, including separate ones for the under-18s, were sent out in June 2005 and achieved an exceptionally high response rate of nearly 80%. An analysis of the results was presented to the parish in September at a well-attended event in a marquee on the Playing Field at Sellicks Green, with supper provided by the WI. A summary was subsequently delivered to every household. 

  • Action Groups representing the various interests covered by the Plan are now in the process of being formed, with a view to implementing as many of the objectives as possible. Some groups have already achieved success in obtaining funding for their projects on the basis of the community support and interest expressed in the questionnaires. 

It was clear from the questionnaire responses that people are generally happy with the quality of their lives in the parish but would like to generate a greater community spirit and enjoy more local activities. This need would be met by building a new village hall, for which there was overwhelming support. 

The main concerns expressed were over road safety, the volume of traffic and how to control speeding. 

This booklet contains plans for the following areas of interest, broken down into the sectors used in the questionnaires: 

  • Lifestyle, Social, Recreational and Cultural. 

  • Transport, Traffic and Roads. 

  • Environment and Agriculture. 

  • Housing and Building. 

  • Crime and Safety. 

  • Education. 

  • The Under-18s. 

In each section we have set out the consultation results from the questionnaires together with some objectives and proposed actions. We have also listed some ‘quick wins’ that are already happening by virtue of our having had a Parish Plan under preparation. 

Action groups will now need to take the Plan forward and turn these proposals into reality. There is ample opportunity for everyone to help and participate.

Lifestyle, Social, Recreational and Culture

The Pitminster Plan Steering Group.

Consultation Results.

  • The questionnaires showed that 54% of the total population of around 850 live in or near Blagdon Hill, 28% in or near Pitminster and 10% in or near Angersleigh.

  • Around 16% are under 16, 25% under 25 and 17% over 65.

  • 10% said they had a disability or health problem affecting their daily lives.

  • Unemployment is very low. A third of those in employment work in Taunton.

  • Most people know where to look for information about the Parish but would like more.

  • People participate, or are interested, in a wide range of activities. But they want more in the parish itself; and 23% of those who responded said they were prepared to run, or help run, social activities or events.

  • There was overwhelming support for a new village hall, which would go a considerable way towards meeting this need; 85% were in favour, 14% neutral and only 1% against. There were many suggestions about the activities that people would welcome, whether sports, cultural or educational.

  • 54% agreed that the War Memorial should be moved to a more central and accessible location. 28% were neutral and 18% disagreed.

Objectives.

  • Actively to pursue the building of a new village hall on the basis of the evidence of the strong community support provided by the questionnaires, taking account of the range of interests expressed.

  • To consider the feasibility of moving the War Memorial to a more suitable site, if this can be identified.

  • To improve the flow of information about activities and events in the parish.

Actions.

  • Establish a Village Hall Committee, comprising the present members of the Playing Fields Association plus representatives of other wider interests, to take forward the work already undertaken.

  • Form a group interested in moving the War Memorial, to investigate the feasibility of alternative sites and the availability of funding. 

  • Consider with the Parish Council the possibility of expanding their newsletters to include contributions from other organisations and interests; and set up an effective distribution system.

  • Develop the Parish website further, with more contributions and more frequent updating.

Quick Wins.

  • A list of organisations and activities in the parish has been compiled by the Steering Group and distributed to every household.

  • Several Parish Plan events have already taken place and been well supported.