The summer edition of the South Cambs magazine featured an article on page 19 about community planning.
At the bottom of the article, there was a link to the South Cambs District Council website that included additional information.
It is now nearly nine months since we embarked on the process to develop a Village Plan for Hardwick. The Village Plan Steering Committee is pleased to provide an update on progress to the 2016 Annual Parish Meeting.
Looking back, we are pleased by what has been achieved. Looking forward, we recognise the amount of work remaining. Some Villagers have suggested that Hardwick should instead focus its efforts on developing a Neighbourhood rather than a Village Plan.
The Parish Council endorsed the development of a Village Plan at its August 2015 meeting. Over the following six weeks a few residents and interested parties held a number of informal meetings and discussed the first steps along the road to a plan.
Amongst the early actions were the launch of a dedicated website supported by postings on Facebook and Streetlife. It was also decided to hold a Public Meeting to spread the word around the Village.
Approximately 50 residents attended the Public Meeting. The event was used to inform attendees of what was involved in Village Planning. The meeting provided an opportunity for attendees to identify the positives in Hardwick, the issues that need to be addressed and to volunteer to help.
During this period, the Parish Council approved £1,000 of seed corn funding. Without this support, it would not have been possible to hold the Public Meeting nor to produce some general purpose publicity material etc. The HVP Steering Committee thanks the Parish Council for its financial support and encouragement.
Since the Public Meeting in October, the Committee has formalised its work with Terms of Reference and a finance policy, has further engaged with the Community at events, through its website and via Social Media. More than 120 residents have returned contact forms, the vast majority expressing support for the Village Plan. Most recently a Village Plan timeline has been generated and the proposed list of topics that the plan should consider has been published on-line. So far, just over £350 of the seed corn funding has been spent.
Recently, the steering committee has been bolstered by District Councillor Chamberlin and Parish Councillor Joslin attending in observer/liaison roles and by Tim Dodd volunteering and subsequently being co-opted on to the committee.
Completing the Village Plan, as originally envisioned is expected to take a further 18 to 20 months. Although the budget is still being developed, it is anticipated that funding of approximately £3,200 will be required. The majority of this expenditure is associated with the production and distribution of surveys and the finished report to the 1,000+ households in the Hardwick Parish.
The Village Plan group recognises that there is interest in developing a Neighbourhood Plan for Hardwick. The decision to opt for a Neighbourhood plan is for the Parish Council alone. The Village Plan has insufficient resources or tangible support to be able to do anything beyond sharing aspects of its findings and recommendations with the body tasked by the PC with the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.
- The Village Plan was endorsed by the Parish Council in August and by a Public Meeting in October 2015.
- A timeline has been produced. It is hoped to complete the task by December 2017
- Options for accelerating Plan development have been considered, but most would need additional funds.
- There is interest from some residents in the possibility of developing a Neighbourhood Plan for Hardwick.
Wikipedia tells us that ‘Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The “need to do something for recreation” is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be “fun”’.
If you are interested, you can read the rest of the Wikipedia article, (there is a link at the bottom of this posting) as it goes into quite a lot more detail. Be warned, as is often the case, it is quite US-centric, so we may struggle to develop credible surfing facilities in Hardwick.
Personally, I challenge the use of the word “fun”. For many, their recreational driver is to “enjoy” what they do. That doesn’t always involve having “fun”. Others derive satisfaction from winning. Having “fun” can be good but it isn’t always everyone’s ultimate goal. Sadly, there are also examples of cruelty being perpetrated in the name of “fun” or “having a laugh”.
Some may feel that how they spend their leisure time has changed over the past thirty years. Have the facilities in Hardwick kept up with these changes?
For many, playing sport is the core of their recreational activity. Although some may criticise the quantity and quality of the pitches, Hardwick does at least have basic facilities to support cricket and football. There is also the multi-use games area that can support other activities such as tennis, etc.. For those that prefer their engagement with sport to be non-participatory, cheering on a local team from the touchline or watching broadcast sport on the TV in the Sports & Social Club provide recreational opportunities in a social setting.
Prefer playing ping-pong or badminton or doing something other than sport – do you feel short changed by the facilities and opportunities available in Hardwick?
Please consider the list below and let us know if we’ve included or omitted your preferred social recreational activity.
- Community rooms & spaces
- Internet Café
- Live Music
- Book Club
- Science and/or Technology Club
- Dog walking
- Youth activities
- Woods/Nature/Wildlife Areas
- Keep Fit
- Extreme Frisby
If you have any thoughts or suggestions to make about this topic, let us know.
A few years ago, the village pond benefited from some local residents taking an interest in cleaning it out and sprucing up its surroundings. Since then, it has again languished with the water level often dropping during the warmer months, lots of blanket weed and algae clogging the water and some litter accumulating as well.
The pond is hemmed in between the road on one side and the adjacent field hedge such that it would be difficult to make more of it unless some additional land was available.
On a pleasant summer day, it seems a shame that it isn’t possible to buy a drink from the Blue Lion and sit beside the pond watching ducks, moor hens and other pond life going about their business.
A few years ago, this might have been simply titled Transport but in the modern world, communications involves so much more…
Where would we be without fast internet connections, mobile phones, park & ride, etc.
So, with your help, we’ve come up with a list of sub-topics that we think ought to be considered when developing the Village Plan.
Please look at the list and let us know whether you agree with what we’ve included, whether we’ve missed anything and if you have any thoughts or suggestions to make about the topic and sub-topics.
- Cycle paths
- Public transport
- Shared transport
- On-demand transport
- Transport hubs
- Modal interchange
- Bus stops
- Bus routes
- Bus timetables
- Fixed & mobile telecoms
- Traffic calming
- Disabled access
- Driverless vehicles
If you are unfamiliar with something in the list, why not research the topic on-line? If you want to debate it, let us know.
See the video by downloading from the link (beware the file size is 60MB and the video is shot by an amateur so you might feel sea-sick!)
When I stepped forward and volunteered to lead the Village Plan group last August, I was keen to ensure that our Village Planning process not only addressed the issues of immediate concern to the local community but also made space to consider how future changes and developments in areas such as technology, our environment and social behaviour might affect Hardwick in the future.
To this end, some of the sub-topics that will be published over the next few days might at first appear to be a bit ‘whacky’ and some might never be realised. But, if you are sceptical about the prospects for change, consider that:
* the mobile phone in your pocket is probably very different to the one that you carried in 2001,
* our children’s lives and world are very different to that which we experienced as children,
* the economics and politics of the UK in 2016 is very different to 2001,
* few of us in 2001 foresaw drones soon delivering parcels to our homes.
So, I urge you to suspend scepticism and disbelief and to step back for a moment from immediate problems such as pot-holes, double-yellow lines and litter. These are important and need to be addressed, but please also think about what might change in the wider world over the next ten to fifteen years. Consider if any of the impending changes are inevitable and which, if any, might represent opportunities for Hardwick to become a better place to live, work and play.
Please engage with the Village Plan. Help to make it your plan – one that you can live with and want to make happen.
Based on the valuable input gathered from attendees at the Public Meeting held in October 2015, the committee has now reviewed and published a list of proposed topics to be considered for inclusion in the Village Plan.
These topics are:
* Getting Around & Communications
* Recreation & Sports
* Health & Safety
* Village Society
These are broad brush headings and it is expected that as work progresses issues and proposals for solutions will arise that may straddle several topics, however, we feel that it is important to give some structure and focus to what otherwise could be a chaotic process.
We hope to publish some further guidance over the next few days, expanding upon the sub-topics that might be considered and included under these top-level headings.
If you feel strongly or have something to say about a particular headline topic or sub-topic, why not step forward and become an active contributor or topic leader? The Plan won’t be delivered without the support and engagement of the village.
One of the major activities of the Committee over the past three months has been to develop a timeline for the various tasks needed to deliver the plan. This includes reaching agreement on the headline topics for consideration and consultation with as much of the village as we can reach. The latest iteration of the timeline indicates publication of the Plan around the end of September 2017.
Some people may feel that this is longer than should be necessary. There are two main factors that contribute to this time scale.
Firstly, our objective from the outset has been to engage with as many people in Hardwick as possible. We are doing this in an effort to deliver a plan that reflects a broad range of ideas and views – not just those of established and/or vocal groups and individuals. This is difficult and takes time.
Secondly, there are currently only a small number of volunteers actively engaged with the planning process. Despite them giving generously of their time, a task that normally take a day to complete can take a month when someone can only devote a couple of hours a week.
If you want to accelerate the process, please volunteer to play an active role.
There was a discussion during the January meeting of the Village Plan Steering Committee, regarding whether Hardwick’s planning activity should be refocused to deliver a Neighbourhood rather than a Village Plan. This may sound rather trivial but belies the significance of the issue.
Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan (see more detail below) is more involved than a Village Plan but brings with it significant benefits.
If you have an opinion regarding whether Hardwick should stick with a Village Plan or pursue a Neighbourhood Plan, please let either the Village Plan Committee or the Parish Council know.
What is Neighbourhood Planning?
Neighbourhood Planning is a way for communities to take a proactive approach to deciding the future of the places where they live and work. It is not a legal requirement but a right, which communities can use to determine the development and use of land and to make other improvements to their neighbourhood, including the development of homes, shops, offices, infrastructure and their design.
Why undertake a Neighbourhood Plan?
A Neighbourhood Plan helps set out a community’s vision for their area over ten, fifteen, twenty years. It is not a legal requirement but a right, which communities can use to determine the development and use of land and to make other improvements to their neighbourhood, including the development of homes, shops, offices, infrastructure and their design. This can be done through a Neighbourhood Plan, a Neighbourhood Development Order or a Community Right to Build Order, all of which follow similar processes.
Who and what is involved?
The parish council initiates the process and works with the community to develop their proposals. The consent of local people must be secured through a referendum before the plan can be passed. As the Local Planning Authority, South Cambridgeshire District Council, supports the parish through the neighbourhood planning process, a summary of which follows:
- The process is instigated by one or more parish councils (or, where appropriate, a Neighbourhood Forum).
- Initial local consultation on the proposed Neighbourhood Area by the parish council and with the district council (SCDC).
- Neighbourhood Area proposed by parish council to SCDC.
- Consultation of at least 4 weeks by SCDC on the Neighbourhood Area.
- Comments received are considered by SCDC and, if appropriate, the area is designated – usually within 8 weeks, but sometimes up to 20 weeks.
- Parish council prepares the draft Neighbourhood Plan with SCDC support and advice.
- Parish council conducts pre-submission publicity and consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
- Parish council considers consultation responses and amends plan, if appropriate.
- Parish council submits the Neighbourhood Plan to SCDC. SCDC check for legal compliance.
- If compliant, SCDC conducts community engagement for a minimum of 4 weeks.
- Independent examination to check that a number of basic conditions have been met as set out in the National Planning Policy Guidance (concerning such matters as consistency with national planning policy, heritage features in the area, sustainable development, and conformity to Local Development Plan strategic policies etc.).
- Report of independent examination received and published.
- SCDC considers report, reaches its own view and decides whether to submit the Neighbourhood Plan to a local referendum.
- Referendum undertaken by SCDC and results declared.
- If supported by simple majority of those voting, and compatible with EU obligations and Convention rights, the Neighbourhood Plan is ‘made’ (adopted) by the Local Planning Authority (SCDC).
Websites, documents and useful links
SCDC have created a list of useful links for information about Neighbourhood Planning.
Central Government produce a newsletter that contains useful contextual information:
Visit the refreshed locality website for current news and information:
And for information about the new grants scheme available from 1 April 2015, visit:
Visit this site for a range of very useful guides and resources:
Visit: DCLG neighbourhood planning pages – for a range of information, including the basic conditions that need to be met by your neighbourhood plan.
Visit http://planning.communityknowledgehub.org.uk/ for good practice guides and case studies, particularly helpful with guidance on community consultation.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/notes-on-neighbourhood-planning for regular bulletins from DCLG.
Visit http://www.pas.gov.uk/neighbourhood-planning for general information about the various aspects of Neighbourhood Planning.
How Can you Help?
A growing group of volunteers are working together to kick-off the process but its ultimate success depends on you.
We want to consult as widely as possible across all areas of the village and for everyone, particularly including young people in the village, to contribute. The Plan can only be as good as the ideas and community energy that is put into it. So,
- If you have any ideas on what Hardwick should look like in the future, what facilities it needs in the short, medium or long term, let us know.
- If you are passionate about some aspect of village life – transport, the environment, sports and social activities or just want to give something back to the community, please get involved.
- If you have skills or talents that can help us develop the plan or communicate and consult with the village, please volunteer some of your time.
Hardwick Village Plan Volunteers
If you want to volunteer, please email
If you have ideas on what Hardwick should look like in the future, what facilities it needs in the short, medium or long term, please email
The Hardwick Village Plan website is published by a working group endorsed by the Hardwick Parish Council.
If you want more information or have any concerns about any of the information published on this website, please email