PARISH PLAN 2008-2012

Your Village - Your Voice

The Parish of Hardington Mandeville

Hardington Mandeville is a rural village 4 miles south-west of Yeovil. At the 2001 census the number of households was 220 with a population of 600. Of the 2007 population, 60% are over 45 years of age whilst 5% are under 15. Over 90% of houses are owner-occupied and approximately half the households have 2 cars. Over 50% of residents have lived in the village for more than 15 years and a quarter for less than 5 years.

The Village is in the centre of farming country and there are a number of working farms in the Parish. Many residents are employed, directly or indirectly, in the local hi-tech aerospace industry, whilst others are engaged in a diverse range of occupations.

Some of the Strengths highlighted during the consultation process included ‘the beauty of the Parish and surrounding area’ and ‘the excellence of the community spirit’.

There are a number of very active organisations within the Parish, e.g. The Hardington Players, Women’s Institute, the Pre-school Group and the Church. Hardington has 2 pubs, both with skittles teams, a village shop/post office and the Village has a free monthly newsletter, The Messenger, that is distributed to all households. During the year many activities take place, for example, a pantomime, a craft and flower show, a village breakfast and a turkey supper. Each year, there is either a Horse and Dog show or a Carnival.

Producing a Parish Plan

In the autumn of 2006, the Parish Council agreed to the formation of a Steering Group charged with the task of producing a Parish Plan. This Group successfully applied to Somerset Community Council for funding, and work on the Plan commenced in January 2007. In February 2007, an official Launch was organised, to which all residents were invited, together with a number of representatives from the District and County Councils, the Police and other local organisations.

Arising from this event and subsequent consultations with local organisations and businesses, a questionnaire was devised. In October 2007, this was distributed to all households in the Parish. Within a short time, 70% of the questionnaires had been returned, and the process of collating the data and information began. This work was completed before Christmas, and a Summary Report of the findings was distributed to all households at the beginning of January 2008. During the consultation process, the Steering Group made use of the SWOT ANALYSIS principle - that entails asking villagers to identify the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Village, the Opportunities that might be available and the Threats facing the Village. The Steering Group then set about highlighting the main issues and ideas arising from the responses to the questionnaire that, in turn, led to the production of this Parish Plan.

As a result of the interest shown in the development of the Parish Plan, some different activities have already begun, e.g. a Gardening Club. Additionally, the Secretary of the Steering Group has forwarded, to the appropriate person, names of volunteers willing to assist with various village activities, such as the development of the Village Hall, the Horse and Dog Show and the Carnival.

HOUSING

One of the Weaknesses highlighted in the questionnaire was the lack of affordable housing for local (young) people. Over 50% of respondents stated that they would welcome limited development, and 136 people believe that this should be affordable housing. It was also felt that any new housing should reflect the character of the Village and be of high quality.

STRATEGIC AIM: TO ENSURE THAT A NUMBER OF SMALL LOW COST DWELLINGS ARE BUILT IN THE VILLAGE BY 2012.

ACTION: Notwithstanding the work so far undertaken, the Parish Council will continue to investigate all options and to consult with all parties to secure the development of low cost housing - primarily for local people. The Parish Council will report back to the Village, via The Messenger, at regular intervals.

THE VILLAGE HALL

A significant number of respondents stated that they regarded the Village Hall as one of the Strengths of the Village. Conversely, a number of people saw the limitations of the existing facilities as a Weakness. Indeed, some respondents reported that they had organised events at other venues because of the inadequacies of the existing premises. However, 80% of villagers use the Village Hall. It is clear from the consultation process that the vast majority (90%) of residents believe that significant improvements should be made to the Hall, and 66 people volunteered to help with fundraising and management of a Village Hall development project.

STRATEGIC AIM: TO SECURE AN OVERALL IMPROVEMENT TO THE FACILITIES PROVIDED AT THE CURRENT VILLAGEHALL BY 2012.

ACTION: The Parish Council will ask the Village Hall Committee to consider the options for improving the current facilities and to produce, by December 2008, a recommendation for development. Additionally, the Village Hall Committee is asked to utilise the people who volunteered their help with fund raising and management of any development project.

COMMUNITY SAFETY

STRATEGIC AIM: TO MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO SUSTAIN THE SAFE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THE RESIDENTS CURRENTLY LIVE AND TO TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS TO IMPROVE THE STANDARD OF CARE.

RECREATION and LEISURE

GENERAL

The following arose from questions asked during the consultation process:

The following arose from comments added to the questionnaire by residents:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Hardington Mandeville Parish Council wishes to thank the Parish Plan Steering Group for their work in producing this Plan.

In turn, the Steering Group is grateful for the support and help received from the following: Somerset Community Council, the Print Unit of South Somerset District Council, the Hardington Messenger Team, and, in particular, the residents of Hardington Mandeville.