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Wentworth Survey Public Meeting
The Wentworth Partnership (incorporating Wentworth Parish Council, Wentworth Village Community Association and Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estates) held a public meeting on Monday, 29th April 2002 to present the results of the recent Village Appraisal survey. This survey was sent out to all households in the village to determine their views on the future development of Wentworth village and received an excellent 75% response (357 replies from 169 households). The meeting was arranged to present the results of the survey and to explore ways of taking things forward.
The meeting was opened by David Hunton (Chairman of the Wentworth Partnership and Wentworth Parish Council) who outlined the agenda and introduced the various speakers, committee members and Wentworth North Area Assembly representatives who were present.
Mr. Guy Canby of Fitzwilliam (Wentworth) Estates then gave the keynote speech on behalf of the Estate. He emphasised the strengths of Wentworth as a village and mentioned that the Estate currently has 150 applications for housing in the area, with many applicants citing community spirit as being one of the main attractions of the area.
Mr. Canby went on to stress the importance of community involvement in determining the future of the village. He recognised that problems such as those stemming from the the increased use of private cars, crime and disputes between neighbours had to be addressed and that there was clearly a need to adapt, review and move forward. He recognised that finances were now available via the Wentworth Partnership to help achieve change, but that the views and involvement of residents were important. He concluded by saying that the community trustees would look carefully at the results of the consultation process to see what could be done in support.
Colette Williams and Jill Ratcliffe of the Wentworth North Area Assembly then presented the results of the village appraisal. We have adapted the presentation for the web, click on the link below to view it:-
Many thanks to Jill for providing the presentation.
A brief summary of the survey has been distributed to households in Wentworth. Some interesting highlights include:-
- The population of the village consists of households containing an average of only 2.1 people and most people are in the 25-60 age group. There are very few young people.
- The majority of people are not in favour of public toilets but are very keen on toilets for dogs.
- There is considerable concern over traffic levels and requests for better public transport to relieve these, however at present very few people use public transport.
- Almost everyone is in favour of the existence of the church for various reasons, but 70% of the community do not use it.
- People would like more local information, and rely on the Wentworth In Focus magazine or the local noticeboard for news (clearly not many people have web access!- Ed.)
- 42% of people want more jobs in the Wentworth area, but very few people are in favour of creating these jobs via Tourism, Small Businesses or Industrial Workshops. There is a distinct dislike for anything new or modern , but a keen demand for preserving and maintaining the existing environment.
Following the presentation, Colette Williams suggested ways in which the Wentworth Partnership could build on the survey in order to bring about positive change. She suggested that the Wentworth Partnership AGM may be a good starting point and urged all those present to attend. She also suggested that the Area Assembly may be able to finance a Community Planning Day for Wentworth. This would be an event for the whole community involving a range of local government organisations which would offer individuals the chance to make specific proposals for change.
Question and Answer Session
The audience were invited to ask questions on matters arising from the survey. Some of the points raised included:
- There was widespread support for measures to tackle traffic problems in the village. Councillor Hodgkiss (Chairman of Wentworth North Area Assembly) agreed that this problem had been recognised, but that it was not possible to put traffic calming measures in place due to objections from the police, who see Wentworth as emergency diversionary route for the M1! Colette Williams suggested that with sufficient public support (backed by the opinions expressed in the survey) it may be possible to change the police decision on this.
- The issue of dog waste bins on Back Lane/Main Street was raised.
- The credibility of the Wentworth Partnership within the local authority was questioned. For example, the views of the survey seem to be at odds with Rotherham MBC's promotion of the Wentworth area as a tourist destination. Colette Williams said that the council have now been charged by government with the task of consulting communities and that community views must therefore be taken seriously.
- Examples of specific ways in which other Community Partnerships have influenced council decisions were sought. Very few concrete examples were forthcoming as most partnerships are still at an early stage, however the refurbishment of the Montgomery Hall was cited as one example of success of the local partnership in Wath.
It was agreed to continue discussions at the forthcoming Wentworth Partnership AGM. Whilst it was stressed that the views of the village residents were paramount, it was suggested that it might also be useful to seek the views of local business and of visitors to the area.
David Hunton closed the meeting and thanked everyone present for coming.
As an incentive, everyone completing a questionnaire was given a raffle ticket. The winner was Green ticket No. 14
Wentworth Partnership AGM
The date of this is yet to be announced. Watch this space for details!