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ENGAGEMENT

 

ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

The Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group (steering group), acting on behalf of Ongar Town Council, has undertaken a range of community and stakeholder engagement activities [4]. More details are in the Schedule of Evidence files. These have targeted residents of all ages and businesses and other stakeholders and include:

  • A web site was established for the neighbourhood plan;

  • A Facebook page was created;

  • A Residents Survey [5] was delivered to all households in February 2018 to gain the views of those living in the area; Additional surveys were undertaken to look at some issues in more detail, such as Town Centre, Sports and Recreational Facilities;

  • A Youth Survey involved all pupils in the local secondary school;

  • There have been frequent meetings, workshops, and attendance at local events such as the school fete, Town Festival and a two day exhibition at Budworth Hall;

  • Some events have included SWOT analysis [6];

  • Regular articles have appeared in Ongar News;

  • A range of local groups and societies were approached for opinions and evidence;

  • The meetings of the steering groups have been open, well-attended and with opportunities for people to ask questions;

  • There has been ongoing Interaction with the county council departments e.g. Education and Highways, and local district council officers at EFDC, the local planning authority, as well as national bodies such as Historic England and Environmental bodies and Sport England.

OUTCOMES OF ENGAGEMENT

 

There has been a high degree of consistency in responses from the various events and questionnaires. Detailed analysis of these was made available on the neighbourhood plan web site and is now with evidence documents.

A summary of key issues identified through engagement and Surveys include:

 

  • Although there is a good range of community facilities and amenities in the area, including shopping, sports and recreation there are some deficiencies e.g. a Town Park, Neighbourhood Equipped Area for Play (NEAP), playing pitches and other open spaces.

  • Additional community facilities will be needed as the local population increases through new housebuilding which will also create a demand for additional car parking in the town centre and health and leisure centre

  • More local employment is required.

  • People use a range of modes of transport. However, those relying more on cars especially for commuting refer to public transport facilities being too infrequent

  • Domination of motor vehicles in the public realm and residential areas, detracts from the distinctive local character and ambience.

  • The local natural environment and green spaces area is valued. More green spaces are required.

  • The local network of footpaths is valued and well-used.

  • A mix of house types are required, in particular family accommodation; new homes need to be able to accommodate home working; and some affordable housing is required locally

These are general themes, and a range of more detailed issues were identified through engagement.

 

The issues identified, together with others from analysis of the evidence base, have informed the themes and content of the policies.

 

The steering group used the outcomes of engagement to inform its representations on the emerging Local Plan.

 

Further references to outcomes of engagement are made in the policy rationales, later in this plan.

 

From the engagement outcomes a Vision for the future to 2033 was formed and is the basis for the Aims of the Neighbourhood Plan and Appendix-Projects and Actions

VISION FOR ONGAR IN 2033

 

“Ongar will be a vibrant small rural town, with good access to the surrounding countryside. It is proud of its historic heritage and friendly atmosphere

New developments do not detract from Ongar’s distinctive character, but have respected its historic form and design. New green corridors have been included to protect our varied wildlife.

Chipping Ongar Town Centre Conservation Area has been enhanced as an attractive pedestrian friendly location with additional services and community facilities to ensure that our larger population still has its day to day needs met within the town.

Our leisure and sports facilities and amenities have been improved with additional facilities to cater for our active residents. Ongar Schools have enough places for our children; and good health resources are local.“

 
 
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Many local residents attended the 2 day event in June 2019

6. Document of Engagement is in the Evidence file

7. Residents Survey 2018 in Evidence File

8. SWOT analysis results are in the Evidence File