This week, we would like to commend a rural parish in Hampshire, for being a front runner in the county, working in a forward thinking and resourceful way.
Denmead is one of the southern parishes of Winchester City Council. With some 5,800 electors, it has a busy and vibrant community.
The Parish Council works hard to keep its identity as a village. A recently ‘made’ Neighbourhood Plan recognised the need for new housing but carefully considered the locations for development, at the same time maintaining a gap between the village and close by urban Towns. After extensive consultation with residents and a successful Referendum, the Plan will allow a level on certainty over development for the 20 year life of the Plan. NALC would like to congratulate the council for being the first to complete a Neighbourhood Plan in Hampshire.
The Parish Council also recognises that cuts to funding in other tiers of Government, means that services provided by them are no longer affordable. Testament to its forward thinking approach, Denmead has partnered with two other local Parish Councils - Bishops Waltham and Swanmore - to fund and employ its own ACSO’s. Officers will patrol the three parishes and respond to issues that affect them most. Namely dog fouling, littering and anti-social behaviour.
Last year, the Council decided to replace its aging play area in its main park. The young people from the Youth Club visited a number of other local parks to decide what they liked in each of them and used this to help design the new play area. The new play area was installed using natural materials where possible and in keeping with the environment. This project has been a fantastic success and is another great example of the council’s excellent hard work paying off. The park is visited by some 250 children with their parents on a daily basis. The Council instigated a ‘pop up’ café in its Ashling Pavilion to serve light refreshments to users during the summer school holiday. The same is being planned for this year. The success of the play area now draws in children from a wide area.
A major new development to the east of Denmead is taking shape. Part of this development is within the Denmead Parish, and some in adjacent parishes. NALC is pleased to learn that Denmead is considering establishing a separate Parish here, so that it has its own identity and also to allow residents to manage their own administration.
Denmead Parish Council was also one of the first to use the power to list a building as a Community Asset. One of the village pubs has now re-opened after being threatened with redevelopment and is owned by a co-operative of shareholders from the village.
Denmead is clearly a busy parish, instigating and supporting a wide-range of activities and developments. They have a newly formed Business Association to support the vibrant independent businesses in the village, whilst they also have refurbished a historic milestone – this is a council that works hard to preserve its character and history, whilst taking ambitious steps to build a bright future.