Saturday 21 October

The Business Plan of Petersfield Tomorrow 2007-2011 : Issue 1

Contents


Foreword 1
Introduction & Overview 2
Background 2
Market Town Healthcheck and Action Plan 2
Parish and Town Councils 2
District and County Councils, LSPs and LAAs 3
A Collective Voice 3
Executive Summary 3
Petersfield Tomorrow Management 5
Structure & Function 5
The Petersfield Town Partnership 5
Constitution: 5
Objects: 5
Membership: 6
Management Committee 6
Our Partners 7
Our Stakeholders 7
Aims and objectives of the Working Groups 7
The Management Committee 7
The Town Character Group 7
The Natural Environment and Local Product Group 8
The Local Transport Group 8
The Employment and Training for Young People Group 8
The Retail and Business Group 8
Current Funding 9
Future Funding 9
Monitoring Success 9

Foreword


Welcome to the first Business Plan of Petersfield Tomorrow.

Greater devolution of decision-making means the need for inclusive and comprehensive community-led action plans. Local Strategic Partnerships (LSP) place an emphasis on community engagement. Many Market Town Partnerships have committed a lot of effort in recent years to developing community-led action plans.

For the Market Town Partnership, developing an action plan helps it to focus on strategic issues affecting the town and its hinterland. For the Local Strategic Partnership and for local and regional government, the work of Market Town Partnerships gives them a valuable insight into the needs and aspirations of people at a very local level which they can feed into their strategic planning processes.

The four key stages involved in influencing this strategic planning are:
• Creation of a Town Partnership
• Undertaking inclusive and comprehensive community-led consultation
• Creation of a comprehensive Business and Action Plan
• Using the Action Plan to influence the strategy.

This 5-year Business Plan and its associated annual Action Plans represent the third key stage. For the Action Plan to be successful Petersfield Tomorrow will need to continue to undertake inclusive and comprehensive community-led consultation.


Introduction & Overview


Background


Community planning is a process through which local authorities and their partners in the public, voluntary and private sectors come together to develop and implement a vision and strategy for promoting the well being of their areas.
The process allows market towns to highlight their specific needs and concerns and, by properly integrating community initiatives into the work of the Local Strategic Partnerships, to ensure that resources are provided for the long-term sustainability of community initiatives.
For a partnership to play an effective role in influencing this strategy for the benefit of a town, economic and community needs have to be identified, analyzed and documented through a process of community consultation backed by evidence and brought together in a comprehensive and inclusive action plan.
This plan will contain short to long-term goals. Members of the community can easily achieve some of these goals, but others call for wider and more strategic partnership working.


Market Town Healthcheck and Action Plan


The Market Town Healthcheck is a structured method of assessing the current situation in a town and its rural hinterland and identifying economic, social and environmental issues and community needs. The Market Town Healthcheck aims to preserve the distinctive local perspective.


Parish and Town Councils


It is crucial that the Partnership builds a positive relationship with the Town Council and neighbouring Parish Councils at an early stage. This is the first tier of local government and is recognized as a key partner in the Government's LSP and Local Area Agreement (LAA) guidance.
Good communication is the key - inform and involve them in initial discussions regarding the Healthcheck, invite Town Council representation on the Partnership and ensure regular updates and reports to council meetings.
It is important not to forget Parish Councils in the rural hinterland and to involve them in a similar way to the Town Council. This could prove important in ensuring members of the hinterland community are kept informed and understand the process. It is easy for the hinterland to feel excluded from the process, as meetings will be likely to take place in the town centre for convenience. With this in mind, it can help to rotate meetings around the hinterland area when possible. Where Parish Plans have been undertaken it is important to acknowledge them and include relevant issues in the Action Plan.
Town and Parish Councils also review planning applications in their area and comment on the Local Development Framework (LDF), which will be relevant to most Action Plans and therefore provides a recognised route into the Local Authority planning department.
Many Town and Parish Councils are members of the LSP, which again affords a recognised route into the process.


District and County Councils, LSPs and LAAs


It is equally important to involve the Local Authority at an early stage of the Partnership's work - in some areas this may mean both district and county councils. Market Towns usually fall under the remit of Economic Development Units or Rural Teams and it is important to speak to the appropriate officer for your town as soon as it is agreed to start a process of consultation. It may be that he or she can point to examples of Action Plans that have already been undertaken locally for you to follow.

Market Town Healthchecks are of benefit to the LSP as they provide a mechanism through the Action Plan for 'rural proofing' the actions and strategies of the Community Strategy and the LSP. Central Government guidance emphasizes the need for LSPs to develop and operate through a community-led and bottom-up process.


A Collective Voice


In some instances it may be more effective to form a collective voice to exercise influence, as it is often the case that above district level the voice of one market town is too small and is lost. Due to this, networks of market towns have come together collectively.

The networks act as a collective voice to collate issues facing market towns in the area concerned to feed up to sub-regional and regional bodies, but also to act as a channel for information down to towns. Action for Market Towns supports several networks nationally.


Executive Summary


The Petersfield Town Partnership, more commonly known as Petersfield Tomorrow, was formalized at its 1st AGM on 26 March 2007 to realize the Vision of the community initiative called a ‘Health Check’. The Health Check began as a working Party of the Town Council in September 2003 following representations from The Petersfield Society. The Vision was shared with the Town’s residents and business community in a booklet and questionnaire ‘Do you care about the future of your town” in February 2006.

The Vision Statement reads:
“By 2015, Petersfield will be a town that is a hub for the South Downs National Park where people of all ages want to live, work and visit; that respects its character and heritage; manages and maintains its public facilities and infrastructure to a high standard and ensures that all its residents have equal access to its services and amenities.”

The Vision resulted from the work of four working groups:

The questionnaires were analyzed in detail to determine the views and priorities of the community and the results were used to guide the Partnership. At the time of writing there are 5 Working Groups that are identifying and implementing projects, these are:


• Town Character Group
• Natural Environment and Local Product Group
• Local Transport Group
• Employment and Training for Young People Group
• Retail and Business Group

The Groups are currently working on the top priorities identified through the Health Check and supported by the community:

• We should be preserving the natural environment in Petersfield with a local conservation plan, to protect sites such as the Heath.
• Local products should be more widely available in Petersfield.
• There should be a better business waste collection scheme including extending the recycling programme to include businesses.
• There should be more opportunities for young people in trade and technical jobs.
• We should preserve the special character and attraction of Petersfield by developing a town design statement to guide future development.
• We should increase availability of transport information and provide timetables at all bus shelters and bus stops.
• We should improve the co-ordination of transport provision i.e. improve the links between rail and bus.
• We should provide more public transport to key facilities e.g. hospitals, schools, entertainment.
• The congestion from delivery vehicles should be reduced by co-ordinating delivery times.
• Petersfield would benefit from a town centre management plan to co-ordinate activities in Petersfield e.g. Carnival, Christmas Lights.
• We should increase the provision of accessible public transport i.e. provide more accessible buses and taxi’s for people with a disability.
• There is a need for better hotel and conference facilities.
• We should provide a better bus service, particularly at evenings and weekends.
• We should increase the range of activities held in the Town Square.
• We should improve pedestrian and cycling routes into and around the town centre.
• There should be more film showings in the community venues in Petersfield.
• There should be a centre for children and young people in Petersfield.
• We need to experiment with a pedestrianisation scheme for the High Street.
• We should review public car parking in Petersfield and discourage use of cars in the town centre.
• We should improve signage in and at the entrances to the town.
• More affordable housing is required in Petersfield.
• We should make more business property available.
• There is insufficient information provided about community events and activities.
• There are not enough rooms to hire in the town for community activities.

We are conscious that further investigation is necessary so that Petersfield is shaped to meet the future needs of its residential population, its businesses and its visitors. The strategic positioning of the town in relation to its surrounding villages and its main transport links is vital. We will instigate further research so that we work consistently towards meeting the needs of this and future generations.

Petersfield Tomorrow Management


Structure & Function


• THE PETERSFIELD TOWN PARTNERSHIP
• MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
• TOWN CHARACTER GROUP
• NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND LOCAL PRODUCT GROUP
• LOCAL TRANSPORT GROUP
• EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE GROUP
• RETAIL AND BUSINESS GROUP


The Petersfield Town Partnership


Constitution:


The Constitution of the Partnership is available on the Petersfield Tomorrow website.


Objects:


• To consult with those living within the area of benefit about the issues that affects their quality of life.
• To encourage public involvement in the development and implementation of proposals and projects as a response to issues arising from these consultations.
• To undertake these projects and activities using the skills and resources of organisations and individuals living or working within the area of benefit.


Membership:


Individual Membership is open to all over the age of 18 years who live and/or work in the area of benefit.
Individuals under the age of 18 years may be admitted into Junior Membership at the discretion of the management committee.
Group membership is open to all organisations who have an interest in or work in the area of benefit

The strength of the Partnership comes from the relationships and links with many other agencies, stakeholders and interest groups, all of whom have powerful reasons for working for the future success of the town. It is this network of enthusiasts and advocates that really makes things happen.


Management Committee


The task of the Management Committee is to act as a catalyst, facilitator and conduit between the voluntary, private and public sectors to make the day-to-day experience of Petersfield that much easier and better for everyone.

It seeks:
• To create and deliver clear objectives and achievable actions for the core of the town as the economic heart of the wider community
• To provide a platform for the various different commercial and community organizations involved in town centre activity to articulate their views and make their opinions count on issues that affect the town
• To maximize the various resources and experience available within Petersfield in an effective, efficient, safe and sustainable fashion
• To build credibility and influence on wider policy issues across the entirety of the town and reflect that influence in the district, county and the regional arena, where appropriate
• To identify and mitigate a raft of national policy developments that will impinge on the town centre while anticipating and pre-empting competitive trends for the benefit of local people and businesses
• To ensure that the Town plays its rightful role in the economic, cultural and social arenas across East Hampshire.
• To bring to the Town innovation and best practice shared with a network of Town Partnerships.

The Management Committee of the Partnership is made up of 12 individuals, elected at the AGM.

Bob Ayer - Chairman
Tony Struthers - Deputy Chairman
Paul Molloy - Treasurer
Linda Boatswain - Secretary
Nick Keith - Public Relations Officer
Hilary Ayer - Employment and Training for Young People Group

Nick Heasman - Natural Environment and Local Product Group
Vincent Edberg - Town Character Group
Gareth Gammon - Retail and Business Group
Tony Shaw - Local Transport Group
Clive Shore - Town Council Representative
Graham Smith - Employment and Training for Young People Group

Note: Representatives from HCC and EHDC not yet appointed.


Our Partners


East Hampshire District Council
Hampshire County Council
Petersfield Town Council

Our Stakeholders


Connexions
The Petersfield School (TPS)
The Petersfield Society


Aims and objectives of the Working Groups


The Management Committee


The Management Committee meets regularly to confirm progress towards the goals outlined in the shared vision and strategy for the town and to ensure that the Partnership liaises closely with and contributes to other partnerships and the Councils on wider strategic issues.

The Committee includes representatives from the working groups each tasked with leading projects within the various objective areas of the Business Plan.


The Town Character Group


The Town Character group is tasked with the production of a Town Design Statement for Petersfield. The main aims of a Town Design Statement are:
• Improve new development by providing guidance to landowners, developers and architects before they prepare proposals.
• Reduce unsympathetic development by making it easier for the planning authorities to seek improvements in applications.
• Raising local awareness on local design and environmental issues

The Group is aiming for the highest level, which is the adoption of the document as a supplementary planning document. This is a relatively new designation, and requires a number of steps, including the completion of a sustainability appraisal, to have been completed.
Because of this professional assistance will be required and the Group is seeking to bring in outside Consultants with experience in this area. During the process there will be many opportunities for the local community to participate through workshops, exhibitions, and helping to gather materials.
The draft timetable calls for the Town Design Statement to be finished in 2008.


The Natural Environment and Local Product Group


97% of the residents who responded to our survey felt that we should be preserving the natural environment in Petersfield. Community Groups such as The Friends of the Heath, The Rotherlands Conservation Group and the Sheet Village Association work very hard to protect and improve our environment.
95% of the residents felt that local products should be more widely available in Petersfield. The District and County Councils work hard to promote local produce.
The Natural Environment and Local Products Group are seeking support to deliver projects that match the aspirations of our community. Perhaps you have ideas for appropriate projects or would like to join them?
Terena Plowright is working on potential projects. There will be a meeting on Monday 2nd July 6.00pm at Penns Place in conjunction with the Greening Campaign where there will be an opportunity to identify projects and offer support.


The Local Transport Group


The Local Transport Group, is considering projects supported by responses to the "Getting About" section of document "Do you care about the future of your town?" which was distributed by hand in March 2006 to nearly 8,000 residents and businesses in Petersfield, with copies sent to adjoining parishes. A questionnaire in the document was completed by nearly 600 people - a response rate of 7.5%.


The Employment and Training for Young People Group


This Project Group is working closely with The Petersfield School and Connexions to improve the opportunities for young people leaving school at 16. Although the NEET (not in education employment or training) figure for Petersfield is not high we hear from our young people that it is difficult to find employers who will give them the practical experience they need to join up with the course they have been accepted for at college.
Many of the employers in our area have good experiences of apprenticeships with young people and find they have a loyal employee at the end of the course who is a great asset to the company. Our aim is to encourage more employers, large or small, to learn from these experiences.


The Retail and Business Group


What sets Petersfield apart from other towns in the area is the physical structure of the town, which focuses on the town square.
The group takes the view that the more vibrant the town square, the more vibrant the local business community. The more shops, offices, homes, and jobs, the better for both the local residents and the business community.
The Retail and Business Group is now agreed that the brand of the town should be based on the square, and now a plan of action points is to be developed.
Issues such as parking, cctv, pedestrianisation, public transport, bus shelters, road sweeping, work experience, inward investment, the relationship with other 3rd parties such as EHDC, PTC, chambers of commerce, inter business communications, will all be looked at, and in the context of the brand of the Town Delivery Strategy


Current Funding


The latest budget is appended along with the Action Plan.

• A sum of £2,000 represents the initial funding provided by EHDC as part of its contribution to Petersfield Tomorrow.
• A sum of £2,000 represents the initial funding provided by PTC as part of its contribution to Petersfield Tomorrow.
• A sum of £800 represents funding provided by EHDC as part of its contribution to the costs of a Health Check coordinator.
• A sum of £750 represents a grant provided by HCC as part of its contribution to Petersfield Tomorrow.
• A sum of £5,000 represents the award from the Big Lottery Fund for the achievement of public participation.
• A sum of £7,000 represents the contribution provided by EHDC as part of its contribution to the Town Design Statement.
• A sum of £3,500 represents potential funding provided by EHDC as part of its contribution to the economic development projects.


Future Funding


Within the next five years Petersfield Tomorrow will be focusing on the opportunities highlighted in this Business Plan together with new opportunities based on evidence of community involvement. Petersfield Tomorrow will use its evidence base to justify and obtain funding from Partners and external bodies.
The need to involve the retail and business community as well as the residential community has been challenging for both Petersfield Tomorrow and its predecessors. It is possible that we must be seen to offer “incentivisation” in the form of “add-ons” or business benefits that will make a difference to business performance in order to motivate the retail and business community to become true Partners.
The creation of an extended, comprehensive, quality membership scheme that builds in additional benefits that can be enjoyed by stakeholders alone will substantially assist Petersfield Tomorrow, to achieve its intended goals.


Monitoring Success


Over the last few years, Petersfield Tomorrow has achieved notable successes including a wide community-led consultation and the formation of the Town Partnership.

The Management Committee will monitor the performance of Petersfield Tomorrow paying particular attention to the priorities resulting from the public consultation and the evidence in support of those priorities.

Issue 1 - 3 November 2007