In 2001 the Countryside Agency launched the Vital Villages Programme in response to central government’s Rural White Paper and the Countryside Agency’s own strategy “Towards Tomorrow’s Countryside”. Bishopstone Group Parish Council arranged a public meeting in January 2002 to make the local community aware of the Vital Villages Programme and to discuss what action, if any, we wished to take. Each household was notified of the meeting, which was attended by some 58 people from our parishes, and considerable discussion ensued about the local implications and opportunities afforded by the white paper, particularly the “Vital Villages” initiative.
A steering group was formed to carry out a parish survey by means of a questionnaire for circulation, covering the main subjects expressed in the white paper, namely Planning, Housing, Local Services and Facilities, Roads, Transport, and Green Spaces. A total of 377 questionnaires were circulated to everyone on the electoral roll in the five parishes. Some 212 questionnaires were returned giving an overall response rate of 56.2%. The responses were collated, analysed, and a survey report leaflet prepared and printed. This was delivered to every household in the area, and is summarised in the Parish Plan document. To view the full document please click on the following link; Parish Plan
(Copies of this are available from the clerk at a cost of £10).
The approval of a grant by the Countryside Agency to cover the costs of the survey and the production of a Vital Villages Plan enabled the steering group, with the cooperation of Herefordshire Council, to produce a 1.2000 scale map of the area and to arrange further meetings. Five further public meetings were held to cover all issues raised by the questionnaire . As a result of the survey and the various public meetings, the steering group has been able to identify the needs and wishes of the community and to meet the various organisations and authorities which are able to assist in achieving the aims stated in the resulting Parish Plan document.
In May 2007 the Parish Council decided it was time to revisit the Parish Plan to ensure it was still meeting the needs and wishes of the community. To this end a new questionnaire was circulated and the results and new targets published and sent to all parishoners.