Todwick Parish Council
TODWICK SURVEY AND ACTION PLAN
A copy of the Executive Summary of the Report, with the headline findings and recommendations appears as a supplement to this issue of The Informer.
The Parish Council expresses its thanks to all those residents who completed and returned the Questionnaire, and to the members of the Steering Group who put in so much hard work to make the survey a success. Although only 40% of households returned the Questionnaire it is felt that the results give a reasonably good cross-section of opinion and show just what residents want to see happen in Todwick in the next few years.
It is important that the Action Plan is not dismissed as a "wish list" and when members of the Steering Group considered the findings earlier this month they were unanimous in supporting the necessity for an Action Plan Group to monitor progress. For most recommendations the Parish Council will be responsible for giving the lead, but often in co-operation with Rotherham Borough Council, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, South Yorkshire Police or the National Health Service. Some objectives will be more easily achieved than others, but it is hoped that residents will begin to see some results of the Action Plan before too long.
Copies of the full Report are available at the Village Hall, Todwick
School, the Church and Kiveton Park Library, while each village
organisation has been supplied with a copy, as have the members of the
Parish Council, so if you wish to see a copy you should have no difficulty
in borrowing one.
A special Public Meeting, open to all residents, will be held in the Village Hall on Tuesday 11th May commencing at 7.30 pm at which you will be able to ask any questions, express any opinions, etc. and generally discuss the Report.
It is a matter of some concern that so far there has been insufficient consultation with the young people of the Village. There is no Youth Club these days and approaches to Wales High School to arrange something for their Todwick students have met with no response. It is hoped that a Special Event for these young people can be arranged before long so that their views can be taken on board by the Parish Council and the Action Plan Group.
STILL WANTED - URGENTLY! There has so far been no response to the plea in the November issue of The Informer or the advertisements in both local free newspapers for two new Councillors. You will appreciate from reading about the Action Plan that it is essential to have a full-strength Parish Council to carry out the work. Todwick is a non-party political Council with a reputation for financial rectitude. Unlike Borough Councillors you will be unpaid, although certain expenses are authorised, but if you have a genuine interest in the village and its residents please consider offering your services - or nominate someone you would like to see on the Council. Write to the Clerk, J.R. Walker at 10 High Street, South Anston, S25 5AY or talk to one of the existing Councillors.
THE 2004/05 PRECEPT - This is the amount which will be collected by Rotherham Borough Council on behalf of the Parish Council to cover expenditure during the year. Once again the Parish Council has decided not to increase this - i.e. a standstill precept for the 9th year. It will remain at £18,650.00, including £5,000 to be allocated to the Village Hall improvements when these take place.
THE BUDGET - It was decided to include in this, in addition to
committed/routine expenditure: Perimeter fencing to the Children's
Playground - £5,000; Tarmacing work at the Recreation Ground - £5000;
Provision and maintenance of hanging baskets - £2000; Maintenance of
Sports Pavilions - £3000. Also to include the following items should
priorities change and/or grant monies become available: Improvement to the
access to the Cricket and Bowling Pavilions and provision of access for
the disabled - £10,000; Drainage of the Football Pitch - £3,000.
The current situation on expenditure is that the extra safety surfacing in the Children's Playground (mentioned in the November Informer) was installed before Christmas, and the additional tarmacing in the Recreation Ground has been completed.
AND HOW SOME OF IT WILL BE SPENT - The Structural Survey on the Sports Pavilions was duly completed in November and considered by the Council, and showed fewer problems than had been feared. The Football Pavilion is in a satisfactory condition except for the windows, and the Bowls Pavilion is generally in good condition although some minor repairs are necessary. The Cricket Pavilion is in poorer condition but with some repairs can be put into a satisfactory condition. The main problem is the timber floor boarding near the main entrance which is near to collapse and needs to be renewed along with any rotten floor joists in the vicinity as soon as possible. Work on this has already been carried out by the Village Handyman (John Mosley) and further work will be undertaken as soon as the woodwork has dried out, as will the other necessary repairs.
THE STATUS OF THE RECREATION GROUND - A lengthy correspondence with the Charity Commission has been ongoing since they informed the Parish Council that the Recreation Ground was the subject of a Charitable Trust. The matter has at last been resolved, and it has been established that the Recreation Ground was held as a Trust by the Miners' Welfare Fund, until 1972 when it was transferred by them to the Parish Council as a free gift with a condition was that it should "hold the same upon the trusts and subject to the terms and conditions for securing the enjoyment of the property for the purpose of public recreation". Although the Parish Council has adhered to this condition the Ground has never been treated as a separate Trust - indeed the present Council and previous ones were not even aware that it was held on trust. It has taken until very recently for the Charity Commission to approach the Council for separate accounts, but fortunately it will only count as a Small Charity (i.e. with a turnover less than £10,000 a year) so it is hoped that the extra work involved in producing the required annual accounts will not be great, and the requirement has not been back-dated. As far as the various organisations using the Ground are concerned they will not notice the difference!
ALLOTMENTS - Following the publicity in the November Informer there has been a sudden increase in interest and applications, and as we go to print we understand that there is only one half-allotment unlet. Rents for the coming year are due at the end of March so if you are an allotment holder who missed this year's collection at the Village Hall on Sunday 21st of the month please contact Councillor Les Waller at 13 The Pastures as soon as possible.
BONFIRES 2003 and 2004 - The unofficial collection taken at the 2003 Bonfire totalled £120 and was given to Village Hall funds. The Parish Council has made provision in this year's Budget for the 2004 Bonfire and Fireworks Display which it is hoped will be enjoyed as much as in other years.
EMERGENCY PLANNING - The Chairman (Clive Pantry) and Councillor Mary Gregory recently attended a Seminar for Parish Councils arranged by Rotherham Borough Council. Emergency Planning is planning for major incidents such as air crashes, floods, etc. and acts of terrorism, and local authorities now have a statutory duty to prepare a plan to work together with emergency services and the NHS in response to major incidents. An extremely interesting presentation on the Borough's Emergency Plan explained how Rotherham responds to a major incident, the arrangement of the Emergency Operations Room and the functions of the Emergency Co-ordinators. The Seminar was held in the Operations Room which is equipped with very modem and sophisticated technology.
The second part of the Seminar was concerned with the involvement of Parish Councils which is crucial to the Borough Council's response by acting as representatives of the local community and providing liaison between the two, as well as supplementing the activities of the Borough with local knowledge and involvement. Each Parish Council now has to produce its own Plan, and has been issued with an outline in which to fill in all the relevant details, including local resources such as availability of public rooms. Todwick Parish Council will shortly be undertaking this with the cooperation of various village organisations. Disasters are not always things which happen to other people so it is essential that we play out part in this planning.
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR - Councillors Mosley, Gregory and Marsh recently attended a meeting with the Police called by Wales Parish Council which dealt with a number of problems common to the 7 local Parishes. It was attended by Chief Inspector Gary Blinkhorn, but although sympathetic to the problems his response seemed to be mainly concerned with explaining why shortage of resources prevented the Police taking any more action than at present! Lack of official transport for our community police officers was complained about by representatives of various villages - including Todwick - and also the continuing shortcomings of the main switchboard which make contact with the police difficult and time-consuming.
PRE-SCHOOL PLAYGROUP - The Council has given written support for their proposal to build a new building in the School grounds which would allow additional services to be provided.
SAFETYKLEEN - The Chairman (Clive Pantry) has been appointed to represent the Council on Safetykleen's new Liaison Committee.
FIDDLE NECK LANE - This may well be a new name to you. Some barn conversions are taking place at Nickerwood Farm which is at present approached by a track off Mansfield Road, Aston, but which is within the boundary of Todwick Parish, and consultation with the Borough Council's Archives section of the Library has resulted in this suggestion for the name of the new road.
FOOTPATH WALKS - These take place on the second Sunday of each month under the leadership of Mr Pat Wilson (tel: 771319) and leave the Village Hall at 10.00 am. Now that winter is past it is a good time to get to know your local footpaths and bridleways and to make sure they are kept open to walkers. Even in summer suitable footwear is essential, and as ever dogs are welcome to accompany their owners.
SKIPS - No dates have yet been notified when skips will be available on the Allotment Field in 2004.
THE ANNUAL PARISH ASSEMBLY - will take place on Tuesday 27 April at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall. This is your opportunity to hear the Annual Report of the Chairman and the Clerk on the year's work of the Council, as well as the financial report and accounts - i.e. how your money has been spent as well as the work Councillors have undertaken on your behalf. You will be able to comment on the reports and accounts and to ask questions.
PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS - Are normally held on the last Tuesday of each month (except August) in the Village Hall commencing at 7.30 pm. There is always an Open Session at 8.30 pm at which members of the public may ask questions or raise any matters of concern. The meeting on 27 April, however, will commence at 7.00 pm and if necessary reconvene immediately after the Annual Assembly. Other forthcoming dates are 25 May, 29 June and 27 July.
ANOTHER URGENT REQUEST - This one is for a new Secretary to the Village Hall Committee. If you feel you could undertake this important though not very onerous duty (the Committee only meets every other month) please contact David Bliss at the Rectory (tel: 770283) or John Mosley (771384)
THE A57 - If you read a report in The Star a few weeks ago to the effect that work on the A57 would be delayed because funding would not be available when originally promised, we can reassure you that there was no truth in it. The information was certainly not obtained from Rotherham Borough Council, and we have been assured by their engineer in charge of the project that matters are still proceeding as planned. As soon as all the legal and planning matters are completed the funding will be available. A decision on the possible provision of a roundabout at the top of Goosecarr Lane has not yet been taken.
POLICE CONTACT NUMBERS - Emergency - 999. To report an incident/for prompt attention (if you're lucky! See the report on Anti-Social Behaviour over the page) - Central Switchboard 0114 220 20 20. Crimestoppers - 0800 555111. Our local community police officers, Tina Jones and Howard Saul, can be contacted at Kiveton Police Station - 01709 832681 - but do not leave a message on their answering machine if your call is urgent - call the Central Switchboard!
STREETPRIDE - Don't forget - if you wish to report potholes in the road, faulty street lights, graffiti, etc. the number to ring is 01709 336003.
TEAG - thanks to the efforts of Todwick Environmental Action Group the village is again looking colourful after their spring planting. More planting for the summer is planned and residents are again asked to put any spare plants at their driveway entrances or along their front gardens to help brighten up the village - certainly more people did this last year and their efforts were much appreciated. If you want to know more about TEAG contact Sheila Pantry (Co-ordinator) on 771024.
GOOD WISHES - to John and Brenda Palmer who will shortly be retiring from Todwick Post Office and Newsagency after 12 years of giving a much appreciated service to the residents of Todwick.
TAILPIECE - According to the Village Survey 96.2% of the people of Todwick read The Informer, but only 79.8% are aware of the work of the Parish Council. (Am I wasting my time? Ed.)
The Informer is published three times a year by Todwick Parish Council from 10 High Street, South Anston, Sheffield S25 5AY. The next issue will appear in July 2004.
1 "Informer" Supplement (to No. 65 March 2004)
1.1 Todwick Village Survey 2003
The Todwick Village Survey of 2003 marks a new dawn in the community life of the Village. The survey, carried out during November and December 2003, drew a big response and a resounding call for a stronger community spirit in Todwick. In response to this call from all over the Village, the Parish Council is preparing plans and ways to involve more people in Village affairs.
An Action Plan has been prepared in response to the information and the many positive suggestions made by people who completed the questionnaire. This will be used as the basis of a range of new projects and initiatives all designed to help make Todwick a much more "active" community than perhaps it has been in the recent past.
The Action Plan is to be launched at a public meeting during the Spring of 2004 when the Parish Council will be calling on villagers to come forward and help turn new ideas into positive actions that will make Todwick and even better place to live.
1.2 Survey Method
The Todwick Village Survey was an idea sponsored by the Parish Council who felt it was important to hear more from local people about what kind of village and community they wanted. The Survey was funded by the Yorkshire Rural Community Council. To oversee the village survey and so as to engage a wider set of interests than just the members of the Parish Council, it was decided to set up a Village Plan Committee. The Committee appointed a team of experienced consultants to help them design and carry out the survey and analyse the results.
The Village Plan Committee comprised some 14 local persons who met regularly with the consultancy team over the Winter of 2003/04. They were not only of great value in 'steering' the consultants, they also made a major contribution to the design of the survey so that it was as comprehensive and relevant as it needed to be. The Committee also provided a most efficient and effective distribution mechanism that got all the survey forms out to the residents of the area with both speed and efficiency.
Thanks to their efforts every household in the Village received a 14-page survey form. We are most grateful to the many householders who gave up an hour or so of their time to complete the form and return it to the consultants. The response rate achieved exceeded our expectations and gave an early indication that the people of Todwick do have strong views about their village and its environs.
283 households in Todwick completed a survey form. The information and opinion given, together with the published demographic and household information from the 2001 Census, provides an extremely comprehensive picture of Todwick today. To put some "colour" to the many statistics that have been gathered, the consultants also held a consultation event at the Todwick Christmas Fair on 29 November 2003. Once again Todwick responded in force and a large number of residents who attended the Fair took the time to talk to the consultants and to stick pins and post-its on the displays to let their feelings and ambitions be known.
We are most grateful to the villagers of Todwick for your contributions. It is clear that most of you think Todwick is a very good place to live and want to stay here. It is also abundantly clear that, because you care about your Village, there are things that you would like to see change or improve. We hope that the Survey has not only given you an opportunity to voice your opinion but also provided the Parish Council and others with evidence of what needs to be done and how.
Full copies of the Survey and Draft Action plan area available at a number of locations within the Village. Please see the notice at the Village Hall.
1.3 Survey Headlines
Just over 1,600 people currently live in the Parish of Todwick. It is an 'ageing population' with over 30% of the population aged over 65. Less than 15% of the population is under 16. The average age of the population is 43.1 years.
Todwick is a relatively prosperous community. Its unemployment rate is under 2%. Almost all of the 62% of residents who are in employment work outside of the Village - three-quarters of them travel 5 miles or more to work. 1 in 5 residents are now retired.
Most people own their own house. Almost everyone is content with their dwelling's condition. The range of housing types also reflects the fact that Todwick is very much a private sector housing area and one that has grown significantly in the past few decades. The more fashionable housing types such as detached property (31%) and bungalows (46%) are in the majority.
Todwick is a very mobile village despite having a significant number of residents who have mobility problems and there being so many retired households. Only 4% of households do not have a car. Nearly half of the households in the Village (49%) have two or more cars. Over half of the Village (53%) never uses a bus whilst only 12% of the Village uses the bus on a daily basis (many of whom are young people).
There is a high level of satisfaction with local schools with nearly 90% of the Village rating local schools as good or excellent. The questionnaire also revealed much praise for the school play scheme and with pre-school services, although only a minority of respondents used them directly.
Almost two-thirds of people in Todwick (62%) travel over two miles to get to a doctor and family health services. Access to pharmaceutical services is closer by in Kiveton Park yet only 22% of respondent families go there. It seems however that many travel much further to buy their pharmaceuticals; probably in association with doing other shopping at larger centres and supermarkets. There is a dentist in Kiveton Park that 16% of the respondent families use, but by far the majority of residents go much further afield. 20% travel more than 10 miles. Travelling for health services is the norm and people expect to do so. For so many this means arranging for check-ups, renewals and purchases to coincide with trips for other purposes. For instance 82% of families report travelling over 5 miles to consult an optician.
Only around one third of local residents currently get involved in community activities. This is despite 96% of householders reading the local free newspapers and over 70% of them knowing that local events are advertised in the Todwick Informer. It seems too that just over half of the Village are familiar with the contents of the Church magazine.
Whilst many residents choose not to attend community activities, a large proportion (63%) use the public footpaths and rights-of-way around the Village. These are by far the most used of outdoor facilities in and around the Village. A third of the households of the Village use the children's play area. Less than 10% of the Village use either the football pitches (9%) or the bowling-green (6%). As far as sporting activity is concerned, 30% of households report participating in some sporting activity outside of the Village.
Crime levels are generally low, although the fear of crime exists. Just over 10% of the village had been the victim of some crime somewhere in the past year. About a third of residents feel vulnerable on the streets after dark. Over four-fifths of local households have taken steps to protect themselves from crime and fire. Nearly three-quarters of residents report fireworks to be a nuisance (our Survey did take place just after "bonfire night").
The Todwick community is quite proud of its setting and generally very keen to see the streets of the Village as environmentally attractive, pleasant and clean as the surrounding countryside. The green belt is much cherished, 85% are aware of the belt and 99% of those support its enforcement and protection.
1.4 Village Opinions
The Village Survey was as much about opinions as it was about facts and we certainly gathered plenty of opinions and suggestions.
Almost everybody in Todwick thinks that the green belt should be enforced and kept as rigid in future.
Over 90% of the Village is satisfied with the ambulance service.
Over 80% of the Village thought that the school facilities were good and should be open for more public use out of school hours.
80% of the Village believe that care service provision in Todwick is satisfactory.
Whilst 90% of the Village uses the car as the major means of transport and 53% of the Village never uses the bus, over three-quarters of the Village believes that the village bus service is 'inadequate' and two-thirds report it as being 'unreliable'. The bus service is recognised as being important however especially to the young and elderly and many would like to see it improved.
Two-thirds of the Village would favour an improved public transport system over the private motorcar.
75% of the Village is satisfied with the medical service it gets although nearly half expressed the sentiment that out of hours services could be better. Just over half the Village would appreciate a prescriptions collection service and a local chiropody service.
Over 70% of the Village recognises that the level of traffic in the Village is too high. Speed cameras, 20mph zones, and more double-yellow lines were all popular additional measures. Opinion is divided as to whether more pedestrian crossings are needed and where.
Two-thirds of the Village think that sporting opportunities in Todwick are good. Over half the Village would like to see better walking trails and a quarter of the Village wants tennis courts and bike trails.
Two-thirds of the Village believe that dog-fouling remains a problem.
Two-thirds of the Village do not believe the streets are swept often enough.
Two-thirds of the Village said they are willing to get involved in neighbourhood watch schemes.
Over 60% are not satisfied with the policing service to the Village.
Just over half the Village believes the road gritting service to be satisfactory.
Half of the Village thinks that provision for litter disposal is adequate; half does not.
As is common in this part of the Rotherham Borough, many villagers would like to see a more accessible modern local swimming pool. A number of other community facilities are called for including: coffee shop, large function room, gym/keep fit suite, indoor sports area, bar and creative hobby classes.
Almost 40% of the Village think that there are areas of the Village that are damaged and despoiled regularly.
One-third of dog-owners do not use the dog waste bins.
A third of the Village believes that more recycling measures could be introduced.
Parking and congestion are reported problems in a few locations e.g. at the shops and by the school. Over 20% of households for instance take their child to school by car and contribute to short-term congestion. A large minority of parents reported that they would consider car-sharing or a 'walking bus' scheme.
1.5 Survey Conclusions
The 2003 Survey has given the opportunity for all the 'niggles' that people have about life in Todwick to come out. Collectively they represent quite a range of issues. The Survey confirms too that there is an interest in village affairs and it has given voice to that interest. Together they represent an agenda for community action.
If Todwick is to become a better, more functional village community it needs to develop more of a heart. It must certainly recognise that amongst its population there are people who are relatively isolated, less well provided for and less well served. This disadvantage is often because of age or disability and is compounded by the relative mobility and affluence of the majority. There is a real danger that the most elderly can be very isolated in Todwick. There is a real problem too for the young people of the Village who want to have their own home and family.
A village community needs a physical heart too. Todwick is so laid out such that, whilst most of it amenities and facilities are near the road junction towards the middle of the Village, it does not obviously have a village centre. There is an opportunity with the extension of the village hall to consider how the village centre around the hall, school and shops can be better defined and better used. Planting schemes, street furniture, signage and floral displays can certainly play a part. To this end a draft Action Plan is proposed that includes:
- A Village Character and Design Study
- A Traffic Study
- Revised Parking Practices
- A Walking Strategy
- New Road Crossing Points
- Improved Public Transport Services
- A Footpath Survey
- Walking Trails
- A Tidy Village Campaign
- Further Recycling Initiatives
- Young Peoples' Consultation Events
- An Extended Village Hall
- A Review of Village Facilities and Uses
- An Active Citizenship and Leadership Programme
- Better Police Liaison and Co-ordination
- Improved Street Services
- Increased Childcare Provision
For all this to happen and to make an impact, more local people are needed to help. We have no doubt that other agencies and bodies will be willing to help an enthusiastic and determined community who are ready to seize the opportunity.
"The prospects for Todwick are very good. The opportunity to ensure that Todwick has a prosperous future and offers a good quality of life for all its inhabitants is, probably, better now than for a long time."