Conclusions and the way forward

Following the Governments intention to reform the planning system and to introduce a ‘localism agenda’ the Parish Council sought the views of parishioners concerning the future development and protection of our rural community. The Parish Council provided the opportunity for local people to consider what the future needs of the various age groups, businesses and organisations over the next twenty years. The issues considered included the type of houses available, the affordability of houses, where new homes could be provided if required, their number and location, the needs of an ageing population, the work people do, where our young people go to school, who runs the clubs and societies, sports facilities and other key local services. All this whilst protecting the unique nature of our rural community.

The majority of responses identify that there is a need for more housing for the elderly and disabled parishioners who wish to remain living within the community. More housing for the elderly might free up larger homes for families. A vital part of additional provision is the inclusion of support services with transport, shop/post office and medical care being highlighted. Some responses felt that the current lack of support services in rural areas made provision of homes for the elderly untenable. Others felt that this type of housing is needed throughout the Parish, built in small numbers over a twenty year period- no large scale development . There was a feeling that local people should have priority. There was a view expressed that existing homes could be adapted/modified, but it was also recognised that this could be an expensive process. This type of housing should include open market provision to cater for both ends of the financial spectrum. Small scale provision is essential to retain the rural nature of the villages.

A small majority of returns see the need for a restricted number of family homes to be provided, to cater for the needs growing families. A key issue is affordability, particularly in relation to 'open market' homes. Existing policy has restricted larger family homes - limiting supply.

A significant number felt that there was sufficient provision to meet future needs and if necessary current homes could be extended. The view was expressed that if more homes were built for larger families it would put a strain on existing services e.g. School places. There was again an emphasis on small scale development to protect the rural nature of the Parish.

A significant majority of returns identified a lack of housing opportunities for young people leaving home who wish to remain living in the Parish where they were brought up. Affordability was again recognised as the key issue, combined with the difficulty of access to borrowing. Some felt that it was important to the age mix to have young people living within our community.

Others felt that this was not realistic and towns and cities were more relevant to the needs of young people. with regards to job opportunities and affordability.

There was a majority of responses that felt there was a need for small scale , restricted development over the next twenty years.

The provision of retirement / disabled bungalows and smaller affordable mixed housing were seen to be required.

It was felt that 4 +bed detached houses were not a priority

A minority of returns indicated that no additional housing would be required over the twenty year period.

Building should be tightly controlled / limited to in order to protect the rural nature of the villages within our Parish.

The returns indicate a need for a mix of property types, with a lesser need for open market rental. Again a minority felt that no provision was needed. over the twenty year period.

The need for a small number of additional homes over the next twenty years in all the villages and hamlets within the Parish was advocated in a number of the returns. The use of a small amount of strictly limited additional land at the fringe of the villages, following full local consultation was indicated in a number of returns to avoid high density development. Gardens should be protected. Protection of the rural nature of the parish was seen to be paramount.

The majority of returns recognised the value of local employment to the rural economy and any jobs created should be in keeping with the rural nature of the Parish. This was reflected in the number of parishioners who felt that rural employment opportunities were particularly relevant.. A number of returns saw the value in a range of jobs being created . There was a recognition of the increasing number of people who will be work ing from home and it was felt that support should be provided. This could be in the form of a community resource centre from which people could work and share ideas. Increased broad band speed was seen to be essential.

The use of redundant farm buildings for small countryside businesses was also advocated , however once again they should be small scale and in keeping with a rural parish.. Employment opportunities more in keeping with urban settings should not be permitted.

Local Services

A key issue was seen to be the need to greatly improve public transport services. Bus services in particular should be far more frequent and reliable.

The need for a village shop and post office was seen to be an extremely important issue. Easy access to medical care and the support of other health professionals supporting the rural community was another frequently raised priority. Given an increase in crime in the countryside the police service must be resourced and able to respond to rural crime.

Leisure activities ,including sport, music and the arts, family activities , requiring a 'critical mass' of people must be resourced and encouraged.

Micheldever Church of England Primary School School Council response.

The children felt that if parents spent less time commuting to work there would more time during the week for family activities.