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Neighbourhood Plan - a forum

Started by Andy Hamment

Like many others, I attended the excellent display last weekend of the sterling work that is being undertaken to develop the LCNP. My thanks to all those who are doing the work.

I filled out post-it notes with suggestions and comments at the time. However, I have thought of other comments subsequently and would like to input them.

My suggestion is that we use the Long Crendon website as a vehicle for making further comments on the developing Plan. We could use this 'public discussion forum' or, if the technology allows, perhaps there could be separate, dedicated discussion forum under the existing Neighbourhood Plan section of the website.

What do others think?

Andy Hamment

Posted 2016-01-21 10:28:59 by Andy Hamment

What an excellent suggestion Andy.

I too saw and read with interest, a great many post-it-notes giving some interesting observations, ideas and suggestions at the open day.

It seems to me that the more open and public the debates and discussions over the village development plans the better.

Posted 2016-01-25 21:17:57 by Sarah Litton

A public forum which can be used by Long Crendon residents to express their views about the Neighbourhood Plan is an excellent idea.

I think the forum would be a very useful means of enabling people to present their views of the various planning applications and enter into discussions with others on these important decisions facing the village.

It would also enable the Parish Council to gather the views of the developments for all interested residents and so create a plan that reflects the thoughts of the village as a whole.

Posted 2016-01-27 19:02:12 by David Litton

Contrary to it’s own governance rules, the Parish Council refuses to share with the village the detail of the process behind the ongoing creation of the Long Crendon Neighbourhood Plan.

On the 1st February I addressed the meeting of the Parish Council and posed the following series of questions.

I suggested to the Council that access to the details of the decisions made by the Parish Council, and knowledge of the process employed by the team to date, might help answer some simple generic questions like:-
1. What, exactly, is the site “rating” process?
2. Does the process include allowances to take on board comments made by villagers on the planning process at all stages?
3. Where does a villager go to voice an opinion, ask a question or make a considered comment?
4. Where (and how) does the Parish Council respond to such comments?
5. What advice have the expert consultants given to the Parish Council?

More specific questions arise around the allocation of the various traffic light colours to the sites. The Parish Council has said that these decisions are made subjectively by the team. So,:

6. How does the site “rating” process work? Who is involved in “rating” each site? Why are these individuals chosen to “rate” a particular site?
7. Does the process allow for differences of opinion amongst the “raters”? Are these differences of opinion explored? How often do disagreements occur? How are they settled?
8. How are the “ratings” for the each of the different sites cross-checked for consistency?

The need for inclusivity is clearly documented in many neighbourhood plan guidelines.

9. Has the Parish Council consulted with all areas of the village – not just geographical areas but for instance:- have the elderly population been asked what they think? have owners of businesses been asked what they think? have the schoolchildren been asked what they want for the future? Have those unable to access the internet or attend public meetings been asked for a view?
10. How will the Parish Council ensure that the village, as a whole, is informed and motivated to join in the process?
11. Given the Parish Council’s desire to speed the process through to ratification, how will it ensure that the process is fair, consistent, transparent and inclusive?

I was assured by the Parish Council that they would respond to my questions and I will publish their responses as soon as I have them.

Posted 2016-02-02 10:04:00 by Tim Hammond

The Parish Council responded to my previous questions via the Neighbourhood Plan section of the Long Crendon website. Please take a look!!

I was saddened and disappointed by the responses which simply sought to justify why the PC should continue with its opaque practice and operate behind closed doors without including the village - I have written back to the Parish Council as follows…

Dear Rowly

To pick up on one general theme...apologies, perhaps I hadn't been clear in my questions but it is the detail behind the decisions that I'm requesting. I agree that the PC presented at the January exhibition but the problem for me is that it presented the DECISIONS it had made subject to the criteria it had decided to use and did not present the PROCESS by which those DECISIONS had been reached. When asked for details of the process the PC refuses to give any more information...why?

To take your responses to the questions in turn...

1. As above, the site criteria were listed but the process by which the sites were scored was not displayed or discussed at the exhibition.
2. Several people left "post-it notes" on the wall at the exhibition - what has happened to these comments? Have the people that left them been contacted? How have the comments been incorporated into the PCs thinking? I think the folk that turned out and showed an interest deserve listening to.
3. As you say, there are 2700 people in the village - historically, it is a fact that not many of them ever turn out to a PC meeting...speaking out in public isn't everyones idea of fun - I would suggest that the PC meeting is not the right forum for public participation by the village in the LCNP.
4. Please could you supply data on how many people view the LC website? If the number that visit the site is quite small then I'd be inclined to respectfully suggest that this is not the best way to communicate with the village...
5. Why are the different sites being treated differently? Expert opinion is sought for Madges and Wainrights but not for Chilton Road, Drakes Drive or Sandy Lane etc??

With respect, the idea that the PC will make decisions based on the interests of the village only holds water if the village has been properly consulted to find out what its interests are; sadly that is not the case on this occasion.

Re Subjective/Objective...it is a fact that if two different people rate the same site based on the PCs criteria they may well come up with different answers - it is a fact therefore that the process is subjective.

6. Which member rated which sites and why were those particular members chosen?
7. No differences of opinion...ever?
8. What was the outcome of the discussions around matters of consistency? How is consistency maintained?

I'm glad that we agree that the development (wherever it occurs) will affect everyone...thats why the PC need to make sure that it includes everyone/the village in its decision-making.

9. I have seen documents relating to various other villages NP processes and they certainly seem to seek to consult properly with the whole community. I'm sure that we can do the same.
10. Your assumption that interested parties are only interested in themselves (and accusing stakeholders of being nimbyish) isn't helpful...I would ask that you remain open to everyone's input no matter who they are. The village simply deserves a fair process and an opportunity to be involved in all decisions that affect it.
11. The PC have made me aware that it has taken LC a matter of months to reach the same stage that Haddenham were at after a couple of years. Please can you explain what is driving the timetable...what deadlines are the PC chasing?

I'm grateful to you and the steering group for all your hard work so far and I had hoped to be able to lend my support to the team but unfortunately I don't feel that joining up would be the right thing to do at this point. Like you, I'm very keen to do what's best for the village and I've been asking the PC to be more transparent and honest by sharing with the community the details behind the decisions it has made, and the process it has used, in the drafting of the LCNP to date. My hope is that if the village is able to understand the details behind the PC's decisions then it will find that the process has been fair. If the PC can do the right thing and include the village in its decision making then I might consider joining the steering group...until that time I think I'm more use to the village on the 'outside'.

I look forward to receiving your further responses.

Kind regards,

Tim

Posted 2016-02-12 12:29:04 by Tim Hammond

Dear Tim Hammond,
In response to your latest correspondence:
I answered your questions publicly in an open and honest way as they were first broached at a meeting of the Parish Council.
I take serious exception to your comments that the Parish Council is not being honest. This is a slur on my-self and the other councillors who are trying to manage a very difficult project.
I believe the majority of residents trust the Parish Council to put together a proposal with the interest, integrity and character of the village as the foremost consideration.
It is impossible to involve all the residents in deliberations on site considerations, what was said to consultants and who said what at all the steering group meetings. This is an unreasonable request.
The development of the neighbourhood plan is an ongoing process and no decisions have been finalised at this time.
You will be able to follow progress on the further development of the plan twice monthly at Parish Council meetings. There will also be a monthly summary of the development in the Crendon Crier and on the village website.
It appears that we are not able to satisfy you on any of these matters and therefor will not be entering into any further communication. You were given the opportunity to join the steering group on three occasions and have chosen to decline the offer.
That is your prerogative.

Yours sincerely

Rowly Willis

Posted 2016-02-12 18:52:19 by Site Administrator

Dear All,

Please note the Parish Council's
response to T Hammond's original quetions (2/2/2016) and our answers are posted under Latest News and Neighbourhood Plan sections of the website.

Yours,

G Stevens
Parish Clerk

Posted 2016-02-12 19:01:26 by Site Administrator

I share Tim H's concerns about possible negative impacts of future development on Long Crendon. But Parish Councillors (and the Neighbourhood Plan team) are volunteers who give up their time for free.There must be an element of reasonableness in what we should expect of them in terms of time and energy. Tim - you are demanding answers to a long list of sometimes complex questions. In doing this are you not just adding to their workload and delaying the important work they are doing to a very tight timescale? I suspect that many of the answers to the more general questions you pose could be found online. And if you really want to get to grips with the details of what both bodies are doing....there is currently a vacancy for a Parish Councillor.

Posted 2016-02-13 13:33:17 by Steve Graham

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