What is a Parish Plan?
A summary provided by Carolyn Heydon of Norfolk Rural Community Council
A Parish Plan is prepared for the community by the community. It describes the village’s assets – all the features which are valued by members of the community. It identifies economic, social and environmental issues affecting the village and sets out the aspirations for the community for the next five or so years. The Plan could identify actions in relation to: –
- local development e.g. a possible affordable housing site
- improvements to village hall
- local newsletter
- working groups to conserve the environment
- implementation of traffic calming
- social enterprise e.g. village shop
- community events and festivals
- local history and heritage project
- Home or Neighbourhood Watch scheme
Why do a Parish Plan?
A Parish Plan reflects the unique characteristics of a Parish and demonstrates that local people are the experts on their community and its needs. A significant feature of the Parish Plan is that it provides the community with essential evidence of needs, when applying for grants or when lobbying authorities and agencies with issues of concern (E.g. County Council Highways Department over road and traffic safety; District Council Planning Policy Department over suggested sites for affordable housing.) The Parish Plan is available for any community group to use in this context; it is not limited to being the exclusive tool of the Parish Council.
How will community members be involved?
Everyone in the community can be involved in preparing a Parish Plan. Open meetings provide the opportunity for people to give their opinions and ideas – often by participating in hands-on activities, such as mapping with flags and prioritisation of actions with coloured stickers. Those willing to help with the production of the Parish Plan can join a steering group and help to organise events; deliver leaflets or questionnaires; or offer specialist help, such as design or computer skills.
What are the spin-off benefits to the community of being involved?
By taking part in the consultation and receiving feed-back, community members are often enlightened regarding services which are already in place – but whose publicity hadn’t reached all residents previously. This has actually occurred on several occasions in Norfolk, in relation to dial-a-ride bus services for example. Through forming working groups, community members widen their local friendship and support network and also learn new skills from one other. By seeking the appropriate guidance and support offered by outside agencies such as the Rural Community Council, the total skill base of the community is strengthened, enabling new projects to be undertaken with greater independence in the future.
These government and local government sites provide a dazzling wealth of supporting information:
Or please contact the Chairman of the Worstead Parish Plan Steering Group:
Mark Ashcroft, Honing Row, Worstead
Tel: 01692 536418 or email to [email protected]