Local Plan

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West Bergholt Neighbourhood Plan


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View Comments (1) 19. Communication

19.1 Objectives

  • To keep the community informed through a wide range of media.
  • To promote a two-way dialogue through creating the opportunity for participation in democratic processes and decision making.
  • To enable the community to participate in forums and discussion groups about issues at large in the parish.

19.2 Background & Intent

There are 4 main channels in which the village communicates;

  • Face to face
  • Village Bulletins and Newsletter form
  • West Bergholt website
  • Social media

Communication channels are constantly changing and methods can always be improved. Different age groups use different methods and the main concerns are:

  • How to manage the communication channels?
  • Which information to put out to achieve maximum exposure of issues and events?
  • How to co-ordinate effort so that communication between different groups is put to best effect?

19.3 Evidence

19.3.1 Democratic Aspects

The Parish Council has its main meeting and its committees and sub-committees but is anxious to build on the task and finish groups and more permanent single-issue groups that it has started to spawn. Groups exist covering the annual village fete; the traffic and safety group; the village broadband group; the multi-games area users committee and of course the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. The emphasis will be to support groups and drawn in volunteers who can act as a pool for other groups and societies to draw upon and to tap the huge resources and skills that exist within the community.

19.3.2 The Village Bulletin

The Parish Council supports the publication of a quarterly Village Bulletin which is delivered to all households. A brief, more up to date "Village Newsletter" is produced periodically when there is no Bulletin and displayed on the notice boards and available at other sites around the village. Feedback from the surveys suggested that the Bulletin is a much-loved publication which even with all the electronic mediums available people want to see continue. The main issues to combat are modernising the content, introducing more "newsy" material to dovetail with the retrospective nature of the reporting. The emphasis will be to supplement the current editor with an editorial team and some parish reporters.


19.3.3 Conventional Noticeboards

The Parish Council also maintains a number of notice boards which are kept up to date regularly. In addition, the Church and School have their own newsletters. There is always a call for more noticeboards but although these


can be considered the immediate need is to better manage the ad-hoc posters and informal notices pinned to most telegraph poles in the village. Here it is proposed to better utilise purpose-built sign hangars at strategic locations to affix event-type community news items.

19.3.4 West Bergholt Website

westbergholt.net – the website page for the village provides a calendar of events, electronic copies of the bulletin, minutes of the council & committees, village updates and details of the parish councillors. Its strengths lie in its dedicated webmaster who posts news stories and relays smaller snippets of the same items to Facebook and Twitter. The website will continue to be updated and used for an increasing number of uses such as village surveys and parish polls for example. One initiative from the past is being resurrected both electronically and in paper form, that of the Information Pack for new householders.


19.3.5 Social Media

There are a number of active sites for West Bergholt and the clubs that exist in the parish. The majority of the sites have a good number of followers. The issue here is how organisations can follow up comments many of which can be utilised to better effect by providing clarification on popular items such as planning issues, broadband updates and crime activity.


19.3.6 Broadband

Broadband services in the village are a mixed provision of wireless technology provided by County Broadband; fibre provided by Virgin; small areas fibred by BT, whilst most streets also allow connection through BT copper wiring. The result is unsatisfactory with many unmade roads not benefiting from Fibre at all and the wireless technology not providing speeds of superfast or ultrafast standards.

The NPPF considers advanced, high quality communications infrastructure is essential for sustainable growth. The development of high-speed broadband technology and other communications networks also plays a vital role in enhancing the provision of local community facilities and services.


19.4 Summary of SWOT

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Website.
  • Village Bulletin.
  • Facebook Hub and Community and NP Groups.
  • PC meetings.
  • Working Groups which encourage community participation.
  • Notice boards.
  • Communications Officer at PC.
  • Annual Parish Meeting and village events.
  • Community information from the Police.
  • Safeland app. For traffic safety issues.
  • Information can be poorly sequenced and communicated.
  • Social media information based on opinion not facts.
  • Social media information not acted upon due to poor take up by various groups and ages.
  • Scattergun approach to information.
  • Data security.
  • Retention of useful information amongst special interest groups.

Opportunities

Threats

  • Further use and development of website & social media.
  • Further Facebook Groups.
  • Use of Twitter, Instagram etc.
  • Making more specialised information available e.g. crime.
  • Create a village forum.
  • Information pack for new residents
  • Developing the potential of the Village Bulletin.
  • Feeling that data is not used to good effect.
  • Hidden concerns only appearing within groups and not shared.
  • Suspicion.
  • Resentment of officialdom.
  • Poor participation in Council activities.
  • Socially isolated groups which do not use electronic media.
  • Threat of hacking.
  • Trolling threat on social media.


19.5 The Plan's Approach

We believe the various methods of communication we have in the village put us in a strong position for the future. The explosion of the internet and social media is growing year on year and our current platforms give us a great advantage to reach out to more locals. One critical point to reference is ensuring we have the right broadband capability and to ensure this is sustained and all areas covered.

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.

19.6 Policies and Community Ambitions

Policy No.

Communication Planning Policies

PP33:

Communications Network

Development of new, high-speed broadband infrastructure to serve the Parish will be supported.

Proposals for new developments must demonstrate how they will contribute to and be compatible with, local fibre optic networks or high-speed internet connectivity. This could be demonstrated through a "Connectivity Statement" accompanying a planning application. Such statements should consider land use and the anticipated connectivity requirements, known public broadband infrastructure and their speed (fixed copper, 3G, 4G, fibre, satellite etc.) and a realistic assessment of connection potential or contribution to the expansion of any such networks.

Where no high-speed internet connectivity is available, as a minimum and subject to viability, suitable ducting that can accept low-cost upgrade for Fibre to the Home or other cabling should be provided to the public highway, a community led local access network or another suitable location.

Where possible additional ducting should be provided that contributes to a local access network for the wider community. The costs associated with this can be considered alongside any other requirements and be subject to viability testing.

Ambition No.

Communication Community Ambitions

CA15

A West Bergholt communications forum will be established consisting of a mixture of age groups and skills to help ensure all groups within the community are represented.

CA16

The Village Bulletin publication will continue to be reviewed, and improvements made.

CA17

Communications will be consistent, and opportunities made available for residents to feed their thoughts back to other organisations.

CA18

The website will be developed as the principal means of day to day communication and information although printed information will be maintained via the Village Bulletin, periodic newsletters and traditional noticeboards as demand requires.

CA19

All new householders will receive an Information Pack to introduce them to the facilities and organisations available in the village.

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