East Chiltington

Devolution survey results

Devolution of the Hollycroft Field – survey results

In September, the Parish Council carried out a consultation regarding future ownership of land at Hollycroft. As residents know, Village Green Status was gained for the majority of the Hollycroft Field and this was followed by an offer from LDC to devolve this land, along with the current football pitch, the playground, and all other public areas at Hollycroft, to the ownership of the Parish Council. Although there would be zero purchase cost, there would be financial implications for maintenance and management of the land. Therefore, all residents were sent a leaflet that set out the costs and benefits of the proposal, along with a survey to find out their views. We were interested in finding out whether or not there was broad support for the proposal, along with ideas on the best way to fund it and for future use of the field. In addition, a well-attended meeting was held in the Jolly Sportsman at which these issues were discussed.

We received a response from 25% of all households. This is not especially high but quite typical (if not slightly higher) for a community survey of this type. Response rates were somewhat higher for the centre of the village than for other parts of the parish, but not markedly so. 98%of respondents felt that devolution was a good idea, with just one household feeling that the Parish Council should not accept LDC’s offer.

In terms of how the costs should be funded, of those that agreed it was a good idea, 50% felt that they should be wholly funded through an increase in the precept, 36% felt that there should be a combination of an increase in the precept and community fundraising and 14% felt that the costs should all be paid for solely through community fundraising. There were numerous ideas for future use of the field, among which an area set aside for wildflowers, a community meeting room and a BBQ area were among the more popular.

The results of the survey and next steps will be discussed by councillors at the next Parish Council meeting on November 7th.  

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