So far we have had a fantastic response to the questionnaire with many completed online and some varied opinions and ideas - all very welcome!
In the process, we have had some questions about the Questionnaire - so here are some answers to questions you might be asking!
What is the Questionnaire for?
The questionnaire responses will be used by the Penyffordd Community Group, together with the Penyffordd Community Council, to help to guide the writing of a Community Development Plan. This plan will set out 'policies' for the future changes in the village and aims to guide Flintshire County Council, Welsh Assembly Government, future Community Councils and other stakeholders when they want to make changes to our village(s).
Who will see my answers?
When you complete the questionnaire, your answers will be separated from your contact details so everything is anonymous. The data produced will be 'processed' to calculate the collective view on the different topics as well as comments and suggestions which will be taken into consideration for the plan.
What will my contact details be used for?
If you added your name and contact details they will be automatically be entered for the draw for the M&S vouchers. If you asked to be kept informed with progress as the plan develops, then we will email or post updates in the coming months. If you agreed to be involved in contributing to the history of the village, then we will be in touch separately to set something up.
Who decided what to include in the Questionnaire?
The content of the questionnaire was created by the Community Development Plan steering group - this is the process so far:
1. Announcement at public meetings (about the Redrow planning application) of the intention to create a Community Development Plan - invitation for volunteers to come forward if they want to be involved - this was also shared via Social Media and on the website.
2. Volunteers were formed into a Steering Committee and met with the Community Council for a session to explore the issues that affect the village today and may need to be considered in the future. Individuals then took this information and created questions for one aspect of the plan.
3. The Editorial committee took all of the questions and put them into a standard format that you see on the Questionnaire. The draft Questionnaire was then shared with the Steering Group and the Community Council and the final version printed and re-created online following their amendments.
4. Is the Questionnaire too leading and focussed on Housing?
The format of the questions allows people to demonstrate how much they agree or disagree with each statement or question. All of the questions represent genuine suggestions for things people would like to see or change in our community. Housing is just one part of the development plan - but it affects everything and is therefore very important.
5. Is the Questionnaire Anti-Flintshire County Council or Redrow?
The questionnaire is not anti anyone, it asks questions about things that we understand that people are concerned about in the village - from dog mess to housing development - if you don't believe something is a problem then say so. If you believe there are things missed, then let us know. We are supportive of Flintshire County Council and our Community Council and there is no criticism intended.
6. Is the questionnaire biased against development?
We have been asked this question by two people who question whether the inclusion of the words 'worst case scenario could see over 750 extra houses in the village' implied that the purpose of the questionnaire was to seek support of a campaign against growth.
In response to that, the team who wrote the questionnaire and the perceived need for a Community Development Plan arose from the Redrow application for 190 houses on Chester Road. Over 400 objectives from the village have been received by Flintshire's planning department. However, the questionnaire is entirely impartial and the format of the questions structured to enable every viewpoint to be given. The data arising from the questionnaire will be openly published and the results will inform the content of the Community Development Plan. With hindsight, we should probably not have included the wording 'worst case' because this could be perceived as leading by some people.
The use of the word ‘town’ in the first question is also interesting in this context and we have been why we used that word (is it leading?) when there is no technical definition of when a village becomes a town. However, we believe that most people understand the differences between a hamlet, a village, a town and a city, though they are difficult to ‘define'.
In Flintshire County Council terms, we are currently designated as a Category B Settlement in their 3-tier system, where Category A is the largest settlement and Category C the smallest. There are no cities in Flintshire. In the emerging Flintshire Local Development Plan, yet to be fully defined or consulted upon, these 3 have been changed to 5 which are defined as Main Service Centres, Local Service Centres, Sustainable Village, Rural Defined Village and Rural Undefined Village. These are all also difficult to ‘define’.
Flintshire CC have classified Penyffordd as a Sustainable Village along with Higher Kinnerton. By way of comparison, Buckley is a Main Service Centre and Hope/Caegwrle/Abermorddu/Cefnebedd and Hawarden are Local Service Centres, Dobshill is a Rural Undefined Village. None of this has been finalised at this time.
From our point of view, explaining the differences between these defined settlement sizes and the ability of Flintshire CC to link settlements together to combine facilities is too complex to explain in a simple and space limited questionnaire, where the simplified wording is more easily understood. The responses so far received indicate that there is clear understanding on this point, and a wide variety of opinions have been shared.
7. Why haven't we included Capricorn Animal Centre or Hanson Cement?
We understand that some people have strong opinions about local businesses and organisations - we have only included those that are within the village Ward, which does not include Capricorn or Hanson Cement. Many villages talk about the impact of noise or dust from the cement factory and these are referenced for comment.
8. What happens next?
We will take all of the feedback and as a steering committee, including the Community Council, we will draft the Community Development Plan. The draft plan will set out a vision for the growth of the village in the future - it will be published online and available to view in key spots in the village - people will be invited to view it and feedback on the content before it is sent to Flintshire and Cardiff - we are aiming to have the completed document for the end of March 2017.
9. There are more things going on though...
At the same time that we are preparing the Community Development Plan, Flintshire are working on their master Local Development Plan (LDP) covering the whole County. They are currently consulting on their Spatial Strategy - you should voice your opinion before 9th December 2016! During 2017 they will be looking at Candidate Sites (and there are many in Penyffordd - but don't comment on these to Flintshire CC yet - they are not ready to consult on this part of the plan) - we aim to use our Community Development Plan to help us to guide them on how many and what size of site should be considered in our village.
Can I get involved?
We would welcome more voices, expertise, interested villagers onto the Steering Group - please get in touch if you would like to contribute in any way.