Coun­try­side key to vil­lage liv­ing

Survey re­veals what is im­por­tant

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Lor­can Lovett lor­can.lovett@trin­i­tymir­

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.

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