Petham Parish Plan Focus Groups – Summary Feedback
During February and March this year, a number of focus groups – four with adults and two with young people - were conducted at Petham Village Hall. These informal discussions were convened to help design the Petham Parish Plan Survey which will be distributed around the area later this year.
A range of themes were explored, to discover what should be incorporated into planning for the future. Subjects ranged from services and facilities to building development and the environment. Over nearly two hours, the adult groups worked hard to identify the topics which are important, relevant and meaningful to residents of Petham. In shorter sessions, our young people also provided their point of view.
A lot of ground was covered, the detail of which would run to several pages in the Parish News. And so here is a summary of the feedback from these sessions. Feedback which will in time be measured and given more representative weight via the survey which will be sent to every household in the parish.
A number of issues were felt to have great significance, and were found to be shared across the groups conducted. The following were consistently felt to be very important:
Both adults and children share a concern for all the above.
At the other end of the scale, there were issues that were less commonly championed, but nevertheless were felt to be relevant issues for consideration:
That left a group of topics which centred around facilities and maintenance. Topics which have a bearing on all of us and contribute to our quality of life. Essential issues, but less emotionally charged!
The issue of affordable housing triggered a more polarised response and some heated debate! Supporters championed planning for increased smaller homes to meet the needs of young families and to rebalance the character of Petham’s population – currently perceived to be older and affluent. Opponents however were fiercely resistant to the environmental impact and change of character that any housing development would create in Petham.
Finally, one last but important thread about sharing values emerged. Can we implement some process to ensure that what people in Petham feel should be preserved, can be communicated to newcomers and handed down to future generations? A Parish Plan can go some way to providing that, but ensuring continuity of values might require something more.
The discussions were therefore wide ranging, illuminating and rich. They were not designed to be problem solving but naturally, ideas emerged and these have been logged.
The Petham Parish Plan Committee would like to thank Andrea Williams and Philip Dunn for organising and facilitating the focus groups so professionally and, most importantly, thank you to all those who attended, making the sessions so valuable and productive. The next step will be to design the quantitative survey which will be distributed throughout the parish. If every household can support this phase by ensuring they complete the survey, the Parish Plan will have a far better chance of reflecting accurately the needs and wishes of ALL the people of Petham.
If you have any comments or would like to get involved with the Parish Plan please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 700207.