Countryside key to village living
Survey reveals what is important
PEOPLE rate the countryside as a top attraction of village life, a parish council survey has revealed.
A total of 472 people in Chalfont St Giles filled in the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire which asked what new facilities they need and what they wish to preserve.
The plan can help prevent unwanted building developments and will become part of Chiltern District Council’s (CDC) core strategy, meaning it will be consulted when it comes to planning applications.
Nearly 60 per cent of villagers who returned the questionnaire were aged 60 and over.
Parish council planning committee chairman Bob Allen said: “Although older people are rather knowledgeable, the neighbourhood plan is for the young and yet they’ve not done much answering to the questionnaire. We are going to find a way to put that right.”
The council invited schoolchildren to write what they imagine the village will look like in 10 years. Councillors will brainstorm more ways to involve younger people.
Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said the village has the right amount of housing, while a quarter called for more. Nearly half said there are too many luxury houses.
People would like to see a number of small housing developments rather than a single larger one. More than 70 per cent agreed the essential characteristics of Chalfont St Giles were its open countryside within walking distance and its listed buildings, with poet John Milton’s Cottage recognised as a landmark.
A majority wanted a bank back in the high street as well as a day care centre for the elderly.
The village green and shops were recognised as important aspects, while just over 50 per cent of people would be willing to pay more council tax to maintain the hour’s free parking in Blizzards Yard.
Although some traders say the monthly market on the village green is struggling and needs more support, 90 per cent of those surveyed say they shop at the market.
The council has also interviewed villagers and groups to create the plan, to be implemented in a year.