Local Plan

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West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan


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View Comments (3) 13. Village Society & Community Facilities

13.1 Objectives

  • To improve and extend opportunities for all age groups and the wider community to take part in a wide range of activities.
  • To identify vulnerable people or groups in our society and ensure they get the support they need.
  • To promote and raise awareness of opportunities to increase participation and to maintain a thriving community support network.
  • To improve facilities for the community.

13.2 Background & Intent

The village is the principal location for facilities for individuals, groups, clubs and societies to meet and take part in recreational and social activities. As a result, in part due to the generous benefactor- provided bequests in the early to mid-part of the 20th century. There have been an ample provision of meetings areas at the Orpen Memorial Hall Complex supported by those at local churches, as well as large areas of open space at the Lorkin Daniell Field, Poor's Land, Village Green and the Allotments. A large number of individuals and clubs and societies use these facilities on a regular basis.

However, in understanding the future requirements of the village and parish it has been instructive to understand pressures that are being felt and whether these assets are well placed to provide for the future particularly as the village expands. These pressures have emerged through examining various information sources and through surveys.

13.3 Evidence

13.3.1 Community Buildings

There is a large village hall complex available to hire which is managed in Trust by the Parish Council. Part of the building is licenced to West Bergholt Social Club open to all members of the community to join.

The halls and rooms are booked up weeks, if not months, in advance and for some uses such as indoor sports are not really adequate for all the purposes asked of it. There is neither a Parish Office nor Community Hub and therefore the village lacks a central point of contact and co-ordination thus relying on contact being made through email and suchlike. Elsewhere other meeting places are available to hire at the Scout Hut and Church Halls.

Feedback from surveys highlighted these limitations and there was support for expansion where this was affordable and practical.

To support further use by the community new or expanded facilities at the Orpen Memorial Hall complex will be required.

13.3.2 Community Facilities

Away from buildings there are the allotments, 3 play areas, two sports fields and a multi-use hard court area; the recreational areas are predominantly used for football and tennis. There are regular users of all these facilities which are very well established.

Overall there are currently plots for future allotment holders but little opportunity for further uses of the sports areas. This matter is picked up later in the document, however the feeling is that some consolidation is required to allow for informal use of open spaces as distinct from regular uses. Major drawback for sport includes the lack of changing facilities and toilets.

Of concern is also the rapidly diminishing space in the churchyard for burials and this is expected to become exhausted within two years.

13.3.3 Community Activities

There is a wide range of clubs, societies and interest groups and more being set up all the time. The main issue here is over-use of the hall facilities which is covered above. Although the clubs and societies cover children up to age 15 and middle and older age groups, there is a lack of activities for older teenagers and younger adults. Central to promotion of these activities is the use of information systems, electronic booking arrangements and the link up with the website and social media. As a further example of the pressure on facilities the extensive use of the hall complex by the Bluebell Pre-school group is testament to the need to enable daytime activities to be catered for as the population ages and older residents endeavour to find places to meet up.

13.4 Summary SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • A great number of clubs and societies which cater for a wide range of interests.
  • A good community spirit which encourages residents to volunteer to support clubs and promote village activities.
  • A range of social opportunities for retired people
  • A thriving Youth Group for 10-14-year olds which meets fortnightly run by local volunteers.
  • An oversubscribed School and Pre-school
  • Local doctor's surgery
  • A well-supported variety of village shops including a hairdressers & Post Office.
  • Allotments right in the heart of the village.
  • Meeting areas are nearly always fully booked some time in advance.
  • Poor or patchy broadband service.
  • Public toilet facilities lacking in the village.
  • No community focal point, coffee shop or informal meeting area.
  • Facilities for older children and young adults are lacking.
  • St Mary's churchyard almost full.
  • No Parish Council administration centre.

Opportunities

Threats

  • Further development of community facilities at the Orpen Memorial Hall complex.
  • Provision of a centralised, coordinated booking system for rooms
  • Introduce enhanced and faster broadband service for the whole village.
  • Provision of a community focal point.
  • Toilet facilities for users of recreational areas.
  • A coffee shop.
  • Enlarged children's play areas e.g. adventure playground.
  • Provision of a new cemetery or burial ground.
  • Provide Parish Council administrative centre.
  • Reduced village interaction and lack of village cohesion
  • Increasing social isolation particularly for certain age groups.
  • Closure of clubs and societies as a result of lack of volunteering.
  • Loss of key facilities to housing.
  • Lack of younger volunteers as a result of West Bergholt becoming more of a dormitory village.

13.5 The Plan's Approach

The Approach in the plan is threefold:

  • to provide more buildings facilities;
  • to investigate further activities for young adults;
  • to seek to open a community centre not just for the Parish Council administration but also to allow an informal meeting area where residents and visitors can meet over coffee and where new facilities can be considered such as space for a community library etc.

As the objectives relate in part to the use and development of land and wider community aspirations both Planning Policies and Community Ambitions have been developed.

13.6 Policies and Community Ambitions

Policy No.

Village Society and Community Planning Policies

PP2:

Protection of Community Facilities

All development must demonstrate an enhancement to the quality of life and wellbeing of the local community and, where appropriate, promote diversity and enhance community cohesion through the provision of new multiuse facilities or contributions to existing facilities, The loss of existing community buildings will be resisted unless it can be demonstrated that demand within the locality for the facility no longer exists or suitable alternative provision is made elsewhere.

PP3:

New Community Facilities

Proposals that improve the quality and/or range of community facilities, particularly those for younger and older age groups, will be supported provided that the development is of a scale appropriate to the needs of the locality and is conveniently accessible for residents of the village.

Provision for a parish office/community hub will be supported.

Ambition No.

Village Society and Community Ambitions

CA1

In order to provide for the needs of the parish the village hall complex consisting of the Orpen and John Lampon Halls will be further enhanced as a community resource. Further community buildings may be considered should opportunities present themselves.

CA2

Village societies, clubs and other community-based organisations will be actively promoted through a variety of communication channels. New community members will be informed how to participate in village and parish life through all available media channels, both electronic and print based.

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