The process of creating a Parish Plan is a means of gaining a better understanding of the issues and priorities for the development of the Parish whilst conserving those features which make it attractive and valued. This has to be done within a framework of consultation that respects the wishes of a wide cross-section of those living within the Parish. Every effort has been made to encourage those who would not normally express an opinion to participate.
The results of the consultation process form a series of prioritised Action Plans for the various organisations, both existing and those that may be formed as a result of the consultation, that are concerned with what happens within the Parish. These organisations include the Parish Council, various Sports organisations such as the Football Club, LA21 and Youth and Social groups. In particular, the issues and priorities identified through the consultation will influence the Parish Council's responses to Planning and Transport issues and other matters that arise in its dealings with other authorities such as Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council.
The Waverley Borough Council Local Development Framework, which will replace the current Local Plan and which has to be produced by March 2007, requires the involvement of the community throughout the process and the Village Plans, and the accompanying consultation processes, are a critical element.
The evidence of consultation and prioritisation arising from the development of the Parish Plan is a key requirement in dealings with other authorities and also for applications for funding to realise any Action Plans.
The Consultation Process
In early 2003 a Steering Group was formed amongst a number of interested individuals and representatives from the Parish Council to put together a questionnaire adapted from a nationally available computer software package. The resulting survey document comprised 43 questions that covered the demographics of the Parish, employment, transport and traffic, housing, utilities and services, sports and social activities and the local environment. Provision was made for respondents to make additional comments. The resultant survey forms were delivered to every household in the Parish. Provision was also made for the survey to be completed through the Chiddingfold Village website. A public meeting was held to explain and publicise the survey and visits were made to schools attended by children living in the Parish to gather the views of younger residents.
A total of 783 completed surveys were returned or collected from 567 households, representing a response from nearly half the households in the Parish, the results were presented and discussed during a second public meeting in early 2004.
Volunteers coming forward after the second meeting helped shape initial priorities for action plans. Priorities were finalised after revisions arising from a third public meeting in mid 2004.