Brightling Village Action Plan

The work of the Brightling Parish Council is guided by five-year village plans. The past plan [1] was for the period 2010-2015.

In November – December 2015, we conducted a survey of parishioners, asking them to express in their own words what they most value about the village and parish, their top concerns about Brightling village and parish, and their ideas for addressing those concerns. The full report can be downloaded here: survey-and-action-plan-ver2ac

The survey points to number of priorities for Brightling, some of which are priorities for the Parish Council and others requiring engagement from other organisations and individuals in the parish. These are all based on suggestions put forward by parishioners in the survey.

We divide actions into two types: the first where immediate action is possible, and the second where fact-finding on best practice is needed before choosing a plan of action.

For immediate action

Action1. Newcomer’s orientation and information pack

We will encourage new arrivals in the parish to engage in voluntary activities through

  1. An orientation visit by a Parish Council member, soon after they have moved in
  2. An Information Pack, which is regularly updated, and also available on the Brightling website – see below.

 

Action 2. Enhanced community information: a revamped Brightling community website

Involvement of a broader population of parishioners also depends on sources of current information beyond the Messenger, web-based community noticeboard and email newsletters.

 

Action 3. Adopt-a-drain; adopt-a-sign

In and around Brightling, the sides of the roads and drainage are becoming more of a problem with the verges being eroded and the drains blocked, especially when we have heavy rain. Inadequacy of drainage causes icing and serious degradation and potholing of roads. While this is partly linked to traffic management (see Action 5), there is much that the community can do in terms of organised self-help. Prevention though quick clearance of drains can avoid much greater costs.

The same principle of self-help can apply to signposts. Brightling parish has some fine refurbished fingerposts, and the remaining posts will be repaired over the coming year. Keeping these posts clean, free from overhanging vegetation, as well as reporting problems, can be the responsibility of volunteer residents.

 

Action 4. A better deal from utilities and services

Brightling can get a better level of investment in the provision of reliable utilities and services – power, water, broadband, road and gully repairs, and snow clearance – by making representations as a community, based on evidence. The provision of fast broadband is particularly important for rural light enterprise.

 

Areas for research into best practice

Action 5. Understand what’s behind Brightling’s growing traffic problem and best practice in addressing it

The Action Plan must acknowledge and respond to the level of concern over traffic. The survey generated a large number of ideas on speed limits or other traffic calming or restriction measures, including signage. There were also some suggestions on protection of the green at the Mount from damage from parking. But there is conflicting evidence on what actually works. Reports on rural traffic calming  reflect that conflicting evidence: things may actually be improved on village roads by the removal of signs, road markings etc.

Brightling Parish Council will commission analysis of (a) Causes: Village traffic or through traffic? Cars or lorries? Numbers or speed?; and (b) Best practice in traffic calming and redirection: signage, speed limits, codes of practice etc. Many other rural communities are facing similar problems. Best practice and innovations in traffic calming in and around rural villages will be gathered from other communities. The study will conclude with a proposal for presentation to the 2017 Parish Assembly.

 

Action 6.  Understand best practice and innovation in the provision of affordable housing

The issue of affordable housing has an uneasy history in Brightling and ‘split the village’ last time it was raised. But the subject deserves another look, at least in getting inspiring examples from other communities. The establishment of a village housing trust, for example, may ensure that housing is only for people with a connection to the village, is controlled in perpetuity for the village’s needs, and is designed to be in keeping with village.

[1] Available for download at http://www.rotherlsp.info/media/pdf/o/8/BRIGHTLING_LAP_BROCHURE.pdf

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