Grendon Village Plan
Grendon Village Plan (GVP)
GVP is a project being run by villagers to provide Grendon with a Parish Plan. Parish Plans are promoted as a key part of the national ‘Vital Villages’ initiative run by the Countryside Agency, and so far around thirty Northamptonshire villages have either completed or are working on one. When completed the GVP should include comprehensive documents produced and owned by the local community, and based on surveys, research, consultation and community participation that:
- Reflect the views of all sections of the community.
- Identify which features and local characteristics people most value.
- Identify local problem areas and set out ways to resolve them.
- Identify opportunities to improve things
- Complement and help deliver local planning policies and frameworks.
- Establish a vision for how the village should develop in the future.
- Include an action plan to turn this vision into reality.
What the GVP involves
The GVP is following the general guidelines from the Countryside Agency, which involves four main phases:
- Hold a "Village Needs Day" to generate interest in the plan amongst the villagers and to get an idea of what they consider are important issues.
- Conduct a comprehensive questionnaire based survey to get the views of the villagers
- Develop and publish a plan based on the findings of the survey
Experience (from other villages) suggests that it will take close a year to go through this process.
Progress so far
GVP was initiated in Grendon Parish Council during the summer of 2005 in response to various correspondence from Northamptonshire ACRE encouraging villages to undertake Parish Plans. The Council was unanimously that a proposal should be made to the village that a group should be formed to develop a Plan for Grendon, and that the Group would be supported by, but separate from the Parish Council. An open meeting was held at the Village Hall on Thursday, 15th September to discuss plan, all villagers being invited via a leaflet drop to every household. The meeting was very well attended, and following some lively discussion it was clear that there was strong support for the Plan, with over 30 villagers signing forms pledging help in various ways.
Following the initial meeting an informal GVP group was set up to take things forward. The first big target being to arrange a Village Needs Day as soon as was reasonably possible. A date was set, 4th March 2006, and it was titled "Meet the Village Day" with all the local village clubs and organisations invited to take part (please see the separate section on the Meet the Village Day). Apart from progressing with the Plan process the GVP are keen to progress ideas and issues as they come up, and not just wait to the Plan is completed and have played a significant role in helping to get this website and moving, and mobilising village support in the campaign to fight the closure of Grendon Hall.
Meet the Village Day
This was held on 4th March 2006 and was generally regarded as a great success, with 200 people coming through the door, around 50 of whom contributed in some way or other. There were over 20 displays and stalls, all very professionally laid out. Most of them representing the various village clubs and organisations; ranging from Mums & Tots to Age Concern, and from the Church and Chapel to the Half Moon as well as Grendon School, Grendon Hall and Northamptonshire Police. There were also displays representing different aspects of village life with villagers invited to stick flags in a map to indicate traffic hotspots and notice boards on which they could write their views on what should be included in the Plan, which they could discuss over a cup of tea and some wonderful home made cakes. A tremendous amount of effort went into this day, but we were rewarded with excellent weather and an excellent turn out. Information gained from the Day will be used in the development of the GVP questionaire and in the final plan, and the clubs and organisations are being consulted about the day and whether something similar should be done in the future.
The Questionnaire Survey
A twenty page questionnaire was delivered to every household in Grendon during the week beginning 10th June, with villagers being given around two weeks to complete them before they were collected. The questionnaires went out a lot later than planned due to the amount of work involved in putting them together, which involved: making them easy to read, and keeping it as short as possible whilst including all the important issues, particularly those raised at "Meet the Village Day". The response to the questionnaire went a long way to make up for all the work and time that went into it; well over half of the questionnaires were completed, a great achievement when it would take each household around half an hour, and several people complimented the group on the "professional" appearance of the questionnaire.
The Questionnaire Analysis
Again this took a lot longer than expected, a reflection on the amount of work involved in producing a Parish Plan. Once collected the completed questionnaires had to be input for analysis, something that had to be done both accurately and confidentially, so we decided to use a large portion of our DEFRA grant on hiring someone to do this, an approach that also saved our team a great deal of fairly tedious work. But, the actual input was only part of the story as much time was spent in programming a template for the results to be keyed into and a means of turning the answers to around fifty questions into meaningful tables and graphs. Most of the questions were of the tick box or multi-choice variety, which were fairly easy to analyse on a computer; analysis of these is complete with a summary of results distributed to Grendon households during the weekend of 6th December and more detailed results available on the Grendon Village Questionnaire page of this website. The other questions involved written comments which are more difficult to analyse, but the results from these will be made available as soon as possible with copies of the actual answers also forwarded (confidentially) to the relevant organisations; e.g. we asked specific questions about the school and the Half Moon.
There is no next meeting of the GVP arranged as yet, but when arranged details will be given on this website.