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SUMMARY OF THE

PIRTON PARISH COUNCIL VILLAGE APPRAISAL 1999 (continued)


DEVELOPMENT


This was the subject which generated more strength of feeling than any other issue raised in the Appraisal. People took the chance to convey this feeling in the written replies.  


57% of residents were either quite or totally satisfied with the appearance of the new buildings in the village, although a similar percentage believed that these houses have been too big or too expensive. One third of villagers felt that there had been too much housing built in the last 10 years and 69% felt that Pirton could not accommodate any more new housing. A similar number felt that if there were to be any more building it would spoil the environment. If there were to be any new housing built in the village, it was generally thought that it should be homes for young people, small family homes, sheltered accommodation, and homes for single people. Roughly a third of residents thought that it would be acceptable if the houses built were detached homes on infill plots and/or homes in small groups of less than ten. 72% found the conversion of redundant buildings acceptable. Nearly unanimous support (94%) was given to confining future housing to within the village boundary.


Interestingly, 90% said that they considered there was a need for a doctor’s surgery in the village.


The written replies to the question of which architectural style was considered most appropriate to Pirton indicated that all house styles present in Pirton are appreciated by someone, but most commonly named were the cottages opposite the pond. There was a feeling that the village should consist of a variety of styles although many people showed a preference for the older style of design. Support for cottage style and barn conversions was evident.


COMMUNITY


Employment


In response to how Pirton could create more opportunity for employment it is evident that residents felt that industry is not appropriate and should not be encouraged. However an overwhelming majority of respondents felt that existing buildings should be converted to provide for locally based cottage industries. Some thought that working from home should be encouraged and others suggested a Summer Tea Room open at weekends with, perhaps, a museum.


There is a feeling that expansion of the range of items sold in the Village Shop and also its opening hours would be very well received by the village population. This might also bring extra employment. 55% of residents use the village shop at least once per week. 75% like to support the shop as they found it useful for last minute items and 40% said it saved them time.


Health and Safety


With regard to the emergency services most people have not had cause to call upon them. With regard to safety and crime written replies indicated that there was a desire for the return of the village bobby and better community policing. The crimes appearing to cause most concern were car theft (78% of residents), household theft (67%) and vandalism (51%). 61% believe that a greater police presence would address some of these problems. When asked if residents took special precautions to protect themselves such as not going out alone or in the dark, a vast majority (81%) said they did not, 6% (40 people) took the precaution of staying away from certain areas in the village.


Utilities and Services  


Most residents feel that the utilities such as gas and electricity, refuse and street cleaning are reasonable to good. 88% have never had cause to use the local telephone box. One person suggested that it should be replaced with an old fashioned red box. Most people find the postal service reasonable to good.


Facilities


When it comes to village facilities 380 villagers (45%) use the Village Hall at least once per month with 10% using it more than 10 times per month. The Public Houses within the village are well supported with no one saying that they had never visited any of the hostelries. The Sports and Social Club is also frequently used by all residents although there was a feeling that the social facilities for the 17-25 year olds are poor. There is a general interest in seeing more sporting facilities available in the village of which tennis and keep fit are most favoured.

With a population of 100 5-10 year olds within the village the school is obviously important. This was reflected by 78% of the respondents.


ENVIRONMENT


It is apparent that the majority (60%) of people felt that the village was a quiet place to live without excess noise levels. Almost everybody believes that the countryside around Pirton is important. The majority of people consider that planting and protecting trees would improve the environment. Villagers would like to maintain the hedgerows and footpaths and keep the Village Greens, Bury, Churchyard and pond as they are. There is a general feeling that verges should be preserved, with some remaining uncut, and vehicle parking on verges prevented.


Vehicle parking on verges and pavements was considered to be a serious safety issue for pedestrians. There is a strong desire to see on-road car parking reduced and better off-road parking facilities. A suggestion was made to reduce the speed limit on village roads to 25 or 20 MPH.


Despite the Parish Council’s efforts to resolve the problem of dog-fouling it is obvious from the Appraisal that there is still a problem and that the message is not getting through to some dog owners. Several solutions were offered to address this problem ranging from providing more dog bins, a Dog Warden or shooting all dogs!

80% of villagers would like a bottle bank and 49% would like a can bank in the village. 63% would like to see the return of a newspaper bank however as the District Council already operates a monthly kerbside paper collection scheme there appears to be no real necessity.


The questionnaire asked villagers to put forward their own ideas on how to protect and enhance the local environment. Popular suggestions included no more housing and no expansion outside the village boundary. A number of villagers indicated that they thought there should be no industrial units. In relation to planning matters, respondents gave support to the Parish Council acting on their behalf, although some residents would like wider planning application consultation.  


When asked which elements of the local countryside they valued, the most common answer was the open spaces and views closely followed by footpaths, bridle ways (particularly Wood Lane) flora and fauna.  Woodlands, trees and hedges were all considered important as is the ease of access to the countryside and tranquility.


When it came to indicating how the local countryside had changed in recent years, many people highlighted the loss of trees and hedges. Several people stated that the use of chemicals in farming is causing damage to wildlife and many others pointed to a general decline in wildlife and loss of country sounds. The impact of too much rape seed was drawn to the Council’s attention and also that there is too much redundant crop and field space (which possibly could be EEC set aside land). There is a perception amongst a small number of villagers that the countryside has been spoilt by too much building and a feeling that local farm buildings which have been converted have taken away the charm. Countryside Management has improved paths yet there is a feeling that footpaths have been damaged by the trampling of horses. More vehicles, traffic signs and traffic pollution have made the area less rural. On the other hand, there is a stated belief by a number of people that the countryside has not changed a great deal recently.


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