Plan is being reviewed to ensure that it accords with developing planning
policy and can continue to shape development in the village in line with
residents’ wishes. A village-wide survey was recently conducted, the results of
which will inform the Plan review.
88 volunteers donned their walking boots and visited every home in
Sonning Common throughout April to collect completed Community Surveys which
were distributed inside the April/May 2018 issue of the Sonning Common
Magazine. The task was no mean feat given that it involved at least two
trips to each household. The village owes these stalwarts a huge debt of
gratitude because the pleasing final tally of 776 completed surveys (c50% of total households)
was down to their spirited efforts.
The Community Surveys were processed by an independent third party, The
Performance, Consultation and Insight section at Stratford-on-Avon District
Council, who also documented the analysis – ‘Community Survey 2018 Results,
Final Report’. This report is filed on the Neighbourhood Plan website and will
form part of the evidence of public consultation.
The findings below are considered to be the most
principles of 2016 Neighbourhood Plan
were asked if they agreed or disagreed with each of the five core principles
which underpinned the 2016 Neighbourhood Plan. While all principles received
strong support, three really stood out:
that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) around the village should be
favoured the village being kept separate from Reading and the other villages
supported the priority of preserving the village’s rural character
the priorities for new housing should be, respondents were asked to select two
of the following four options:
favoured homes for first-time buyers
selected senior living apartments with support
supported housing for families with children
for care home places
As to the
bedroom size of properties, respondents were asked to select two of the
following four options:
about their current housing need:
to downsize within the village, a reflection perhaps of the ages of Sonning
regard to this last remark, it is interesting to compare those age groups of
individuals in the households which participated in this survey (c50% of total
households) to those of Sonning Common as a whole in order to gain an
understanding of how representative the survey households were from an age
2011 provided the last official snapshot of the village as a whole. The age
bands used in this and those used in the Community Survey are slightly
different, but three age bands can be roughly identified consisting of (a) Up
to working age (b) Working age and (c) Retirement.
SC Community Survey 2018
comparison, it can be seen that the age distribution of the households of the
survey respondents is similar to that of the village as a whole. So it can be
concluded that from an age distribution perspective, the survey households are
representative of the households in the village.
additional comments space on the survey provided the opportunity for further
feedback as to how residents viewed the priorities for the future development
of the village. Of the 776 respondents, 318 (41%) elected to express their
wishes and opinions.
complete content of all these comments forms part of the ‘Community Survey 2018 Results, Final Report’ filed
on the Neighbourhood Plan website.
comments broadly fell into three categories:
Infrastructure* (village centre
amenities, medical facilities, parking, utilities, roads) which unsurprisingly
featured in 41% of total comments
Housing (more first-time
buyer, less five-beds, more social and affordable, more bungalows, less
backland (garden)development, more parking bays in new developments) accounted
Rural threat posed by new developments (loss of
village’s identity and its rural look and feel, the allocation of more new
homes should be shared with smaller villages) (16%)
regard to the village centre, Sonning Common Parish Council commissioned
designer, Ben Hamilton-Baillie, to draw up a visual representation of what a transformation
of the village centre could look like. The June/July 2018 issue of the Sonning
Common Magazine carried a double-page feature on some of his ideas.
of two public events in the Village Hall concerning the possible redesigning of
the village centre took place on Saturday 16 June 2018. The second, scheduled
for September (date tba), will be an evening talk at which Ben
Hamilton-Baillie, will present his designs.
NP Working Party
July 2018The Community Survey completed in April 2018 can be found here and the survey results can be found here.