Lower Peover Parish Council last produced a Parish Plan in 2013. A parish plan is an in depth survey of a community undertaken by that community itself for its own benefit, to find out how it wants to see itself develop. This often can be over a five to ten year timescale but the challenge the Parish Council have set is to work on up to five key initiatives that will have deliverables with a far shorter timescale to complete (up to a maximum of one year). This will include an action plan to make sure all this actually happens. It provides an opportunity for people to take stock of their community and to decide which aspects of their community they like and wish to preserve, and perhaps enhance, and which aspects they do not like and want to change.
There are three core principles that define parish planning and distinguish it from other methods of community engagement. These are:
- Plans are owned, managed and led by the community. This is different from other consultations where people are asked for their views by local authorities and other service providers, largely on pre-determined projects or programmes. Parish planning provides our community with the opportunity to set its own agenda and bring about positive change without the need to wait for others to get things done.
- Everyone in the community should have an opportunity to get involved and have their say. This is achieved through Residents Surveys. These surveys hopefully enable the production of a high quality and robust plan that has the support of everyone locally and delivers actions that are based on a sound understanding of local needs and aspirations.
- Actions will be based on evidence and address a range of different issues important to our community. Parish planning can cover social, economic, environmental and cultural issues. We can produce a plan which covers anything you want, within reason!
In order to ensure we adhere to these principles, a survey of residents was completed in 2019. The Work Streams identified below very much aim to bring to life the hopes and aspirations residents shared in that survey as well as easing concerns.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF PARISH PLANS
A Parish Plan is aguiding document, drawn up by the community, which generates a vision of the social, economic and environmental development of the Parish. It identifies local problems, issues and opportunities, sets out achievable aims for the future and provides a plan for the development of the Parish.
The recommendations as to how life in the Parish may be improved and the village itself developed are the result of input by the residents, as recorded in completed questionnaires.
The aim is not to replace established planning guidance at a County or local level but to supplement and complement that existing planning framework, so as to conserve and enhance those individual and sometimes unique local village and Parish features that the community values.
Early in 2020 the Lower Peover Parish Council agreed that a Steering Group be established to prepare a new Parish Plan. As mentioned earlier, the aim being to harness what residents actually want to see happen in our village.
Four volunteer residents have come forward– Sally Aspin (SA), Tony Booth (TB), Paul Eccles (PE) and Mark Sales (MS), two representing Cheshire East residents and two Cheshire West. All are long standing Lower Peover Residents with a passion to become involved in improving the quality of life in the village still further. Two meetings were held during January and February 2020 and a number of work streams were identified. The intention is that each volunteer will lead and own their work stream shadowed by a Lower Peover Parish Councillor. In so doing the Council will be in touch and aware at all times of the outputs and actions generated and planned by these work streams. The Shadow Councillor can then advise and adjudicate as to when full council approval may be required before certain actions may be undertaken.
WORK STREAM 1.(PE)
The Steering Group felt that a more standardised and consistent approach to the responses the Lower Peover Parish Council issues in respect of planning applications, should be considered. In effect a set of rules or protocols to be drawn up that guide the nature of planning aspects that the Council considers are acceptable in our village and those that are not.
PE has expressed a keen interest to take on this work stream and it is recommended that the shadow for this initiative be Councillor Wilson given his expertise in this area.
PE also would like to investigate as part of this work stream, alternative land management strategies for the land area to the East of the graveyard at St Oswalds Church, initially by making contact with the land owner.
WORK STREAM 2. (SA)
SA wishes to be champion of preparing a Welcome Pack both for the new residents who will soon be moving into the housing development at Swan Green and also issued to new residents who may move into our Village in the future. Councillor Dutton is the logical shadow for this initiative given his links with activities at the Church and the School and of course SAs key role in the local WI.
Councillor Dutton and SA are already in contact with one another to progress this initiative.
WORK STREAM 3. (MS)
MS is the proud father of two children at school in the Village and living in the Swan Green area.
Whilst previous attempts have been made by the Parish Council to develop a safer‘Walk to School’
(‘WtoS’) solution than venturing along the narrow public footpath down Crown Lane and then tackling the Cobbles, MS is keen to re-open this debate.
Also MS is keen to work on a refresh for the Swan Green children’s play area.
The suggested‘shadow’for this work stream be Councillor Geake given her time served on the Council and through the period where WtoS was looked into as a project.
TB has helpfully pointed out that under the S106 planning approval for the Swan Green Housing Development certain funds were pledged by the developers including one of £515 per dwelling specifically for improvements to this play area. Further funds were included for education but as far as we know have not been taken up or accessed. MS will be drawing up an Action Plan to look into the best way of approaching the developers to access these funds and how they could be employed to pay for costs of improvements to the play area as well as WtoS. Once completed the Action Plan will be incorporated into the Parish Plan for sign off by the Council before work commences in earnest.
WORK STREAM 4. (TB)
TB believes that LPPC newsletters should be distributed electronically via email rather than print runs and volunteer councilors then acting as postmen. It is felt the newsletters could then be more frequent and local residents should be encouraged to submit content for inclusion.
The last Steering Group Meeting as it happens pre-dated the Covid 19 lock down directives which has accelerated the process of doing exactly what the Steering Group intended as part of this work stream.
Databases are being set up and an extensive exercise is being undertaken to gather as many email addresses as possible. All residents on the Lower Peover Covid-19 database will be written to, to get their permission to transfer their email details to the Parish Council, in line with data protection requirements. Where residents are non -digitalised the work stream aim will be to ensure a neighbour prints off and delivers newsletters and flyers that the Parish Council may issue in the future to homes where electronic delivery cannot be achieved. Longer term the aim is to develop a programme to increase the penetration of wifi/internet access across as many homes as possible in our village. In tandem to promote‘Silver Surfing’ and IT training to new internet users and promotions of, inter alia, Library IT Training Schemes designed for early surfers.
TB also feels the Council Website and other social media platforms should be kept right up to date with activities and events planned by the Parish Council. This is particularly apposite given the current lock down situation. There will need to be a national exit strategy but the aftershocks of this pandemic will be felt for a considerable period of time.
In response to the virus outbreak the Parish Council has already responded rapidly in setting up a Community Support Group, initially to help those in our village who are vulnerable and may need help with shopping, obtaining medical prescriptions, dog walking or even a friendly chat.
The task for this work stream from here will be to develop plans beyond the current lock down in order to keep all residents abreast of the activities planned by the Parish Council but just as important to take feedback and aspirations from residents and reflect this in its plans on a regular basis.
The suggested‘shadow’ for this work stream is Councillor Corlett given her knowledge of IT and involvement with social media.
WORK STREAM 5. (AB)
AB has volunteered to take on biodiversity as a work stream. At present there is no resident volunteer to adopt this work stream but it has been agreed that Councillor Kendall will work with AB to guide the process. Initially there is potential within our village to look into the charting and restoration of local ponds of where we are blessed with an abundance. By coincidence SA helpfully picked up and circulated information concerning an initiative driven by‘Natural England’ and locally in conjunction with Cheshire Wildlife Trust.Natural England are partnering with Cheshire Wildlife Trust to create/restore ponds across Cheshire East for the conservation of Great Crested Newts.
The ponds are being created to compensate for the environmental impacts of development. The target area for the scheme incorporates most of the farmland in Cheshire East.
Land must fall within the target areas and the land management must be favourable for newts. A recent tranche of grants for this work has come to an end but our enquiries have revealed there will be new tranches coming available in the future.
Initially we have identified three ponds that may qualify and details will be submitted to the Co-ordinator of these schemes at Cheshire Wildlife Trust. Also as grants are available for up to ten ponds so further ponds/sites will be investigated. Below is one of the ponds at the corner of Mill and Foxcovert Lanes.