Bothenhampton & Walditch Parish Council
PARISH PLAN 2023 - 2028
What is a Parish Council Plan?
The Parish Council Plan sets out the Parish Council’s vision for the Parish, its purpose, values, objectives and priorities for the next 5 years. It has been drawn up using the information obtained from the Parish Survey. The Parish Council Plan records and reflects the views of our residents and highlights key priorities for the Parish Council to act upon either directly or in partnership with others.
The Parish Council Plan is designed to identify the challenges and risks faced during the five year period so that the Council can recognise what needs to be done to avoid, exploit or mitigate the effects of social, economic and environmental factors within the Parish. The Council can then handle changes with greater effectiveness and efficiency than would be the case if it were unprepared.
Why produce a Parish Council Plan
By creating a Plan the Parish Council has created a framework for it to work within. This will enable it to work in a more consistent and co-ordinated way and become proactive rather than reactive in its decision making. The Plan is centred around what our community has told us that they want. Also, it will help our residents to have a better understanding of what the Parish Council does and clarify what it does not do.
By creating its Plan the Council has the knowledge and awareness to respond to change, and financial reserves to meet new demands, residents will be served more appropriately, more economically and quicker. We are keen that the Plan includes factors, such as climate change, that will have an effect on the community as a whole.
This Parish Plan is intended to be a ‘live’ document so it will be continuously reviewed, updated, and progress against key priorities measured.
Bothenhampton & Walditch Parish Council – An overview
There are currently two tiers of local government in our parish. Each tier has different responsibilities. Bothenhampton & Walditch Parish Council is the first tier and the local tier, so it represents the interests of residents and supports the work of community groups.
Dorset Council is the second tier and is responsible for such things as environmental services, housing and planning, highways (which includes both roads and pavements), education, health, social services, public rights of way and libraries.
Residents elect nine parish councillors every four years. The Parish Council reports to residents at the Annual Parish Meeting in May and elects a Chair annually. Parish Councillors are holders of public office but unpaid. They commit time to make Bothenhampton & Walditch the best it can be by protecting what is great about our area and working either directly or with others to improve things. Parish Councillor can vary widely, from liaising with Dorset Highways about traffic safety issues, to arranging to keep footpaths clear to scrutinising planning applications.
The Parish Council owns and manages three play areas within the community as well as the Valley View open Space and Walditch Village Green. It has installed assets such as grit bins, litter bins and dog waste bins, and two defibrillators, one in each village. All these assets are maintained by the Parish Council on behalf of the community.
The full council meets on the second Monday of each month (excluding August and December). All meetings are open to the public with a period set aside for members of the public to address Councillors. Residents are not permitted to take part in discussion other than during the public time set aside. There are three separate sub-committees which deal with finance, open spaces, and traffic, transport and footpaths.
The Parish Council works within its Standing Orders and Financial Regulations which lay down the rules by which it can operated and conduct its business. There is also a Code of Conduct for Councillors which they must comply with.
The Parish Council employs a part time Clerk / Financial Responsible Officer who carries out all the functions required by law.
The residents of Bothenhampton & Walditch fund the Parish Council via the ‘precept’. The precept is the local tax levied by the Parish Council and is collected on our behalf by Dorset Council.
The main items of expenditure are office administration, play area and open space maintenance and one-off projects eg: renewal of play equipment at John Gundry Play Area. Other projects include the Lower Walditch Play Area completed in September 2020 and the partnership arrangement with Bridport Town Council with regards the two nature reserves in the area; Jellyfields and Bothenhampton Nature Reserves.
Parish Council Governance Objectives
The Parish Council strives to be a professional, competent and caring Parish Council, to be open and accountable in all it does and to ensure sound financial management. The Parish Council has adopted policies that demonstrate our commitment to ensuring openness, transparency and good government. All documents are available on this website.
The Parish Council aims to:
Be well-informed about the needs and opinions of our residents
Improve our councillor skills by undertaking training
Keep abreast of opportunities and policy requirements
Promote public participation at meetings and during wider community events
Deal with enquiries speedily and efficiently
Take on board all feedback either negative or positive
Parish Council Initial Survey
The Parish Council initiated a questionnaire survey of all residents during September 2020. A total of 1,100 households were contacted and a response rate of 9.6% was received (102 responses returned)
Residents were asked to rank activities by importance.
Response Rate Explained
The low response rate reflects the lack of publicity given to the exercise, though it is also arguable that the community believes the Council performs its role well; or that it performs no significant role. The attached comments indicate that those who responded have issues of concern. The Council believes that this is sufficient to create the Plan.
The survey revealed that in Walditch there is greater concern about open spaces and play areas, and in Bothenhampton, about planning. This reflects the recent investment in a play area in Lower Walditch, and two contentious building sites in Bothenhampton.
The population in 2021 was 12% aged 0-19, 8% aged 20-34, 44% aged 65 plus
according to Census returns (Bridport town centre 17%, 13% and 32% respectively). In terms of employment, 43% are employed, 45% work part-time, and 30% work mainly from home (Bridport town centre 49%, 41% and 23%). Graduates form 37% of the population, 16% have no formal qualifications, and 34% (Bridport town centre 30%, 20%, and 26%). Managerial and professional house owners without mortgage form 68%, private tenants 8%, social tenants 4% (Bridport town centre 42%, 19% and 23%). Ten percent of households have no car (Bridport town centre 24%). So, the parish is older, more qualified, working part-time or at home, and exceptionally highly likely to own their home outright. Relatively few have no car. Over the period to 2028 the proportion of homeowners is likely to rise further, yet part-time and home-based employment is likely to increase as the local economy diversifies further. As older people move to care homes or die, they are often replaced by new retirees with the cash to upgrade or extend their homes. Households will continue to get smaller, and the number of single-person households increase
The effect of Covid-19, and of inflation, are likely to hit household incomes and particular groups, such as working families with children, and some self-employed. It is too early to assess the full effect of restrictions, or indeed of Brexit, but there will certainly be an increase in income and wealth inequality between areas of families with young children/unemployed/state pensioners (such as Magna Housing in Lower Walditch) and areas of older residents with private resources (such as Wych Hill and Valley Road). This trend may affect community cohesiveness.
There will be an increase in demand for housing by single people, including the elderly, which may lead to higher incidence of loneliness; while the incidence of adult children living with their parents will maintain a demand for larger houses. House prices will continue to rise, and they will become less affordable.
The climate emergency will have an increasing impact. In terms of Government policy, there will be a significant investment in electric vehicles, and in the number of charging points. There is scope for more public community transport if funds can be found, but unless services are frequent and quick residents will use their cars or taxis. Town centre parking will become more expensive.
Programmes of retrofitting older properties for insulation and solar panels, and for non-fossil-fuel-based heating systems will be introduced, delivered by private-sector companies using loans provided to consumers by Government. The retrofitting will be limited because of the costs of currently available systems and the inconvenience for many elderly house owners.
The environment will experience more extreme weather, leading to soil loss from the hills and flooding more frequently on the hillsides. Drainage will become a more serious issue.
It is likely that there will be more invasive plant species and insects, which will require monitoring and maybe eradication. There will be more pressure to modify land to introduce more trees, more hedges, ponds, and terracing to prevent erosion. There will be greater pressure on nature reserves as more people play or walk dogs.
Each facet of the Council’s activities has been explored by councillors during December 2020 and January 2021, taking into account any national guidance or best practice in other similar councils.
The following tasks were allocated:
Cllr GS to explore planning issues and possible legislative changes for planning permission, or for building standards.
The Traffic, Transport and Footpaths sub-committee to research roads, safety (speed, crossings, visibility) footpaths and cyclepath networks.
Cllr JB to explore energy and recycling options, their feasibility and the need for climate literacy (email@example.com)
The Open Spaces and Play Areas sub-committee to examine trends in open spaces and play areas (rewilding, trees planting schemes etc).
Cllr JB to consider how ‘community services’ can be optimised to deliver support to different groups within the Parish, and how the Parish Council can improve its visibility.
Findings were reported at the Main Committee meeting on 11th January 2021.
Parish Plan Action Points
These are the actions that the Parish Council performs on an ongoing basis and intends to perform during the period 2023-2028. They have been chosen carefully in the light of survey responses from residents, the Climate Emergency declared by the Parish Council in 2020, the Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan (BANP) made in May 2020, and the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) and draft Local Plan documents issued by Dorset Council (DC Local Plan) in Spring 2021. Proposed actions have been linked to timelines. Revisions of local plans will affect our actions.
Planning (Built Environment)
Climate change (energy, recycling, decarbonisation)
Accessibility (transport, roads, footpaths, cycle tracks; safety)
Natural Environment (open spaces)
Crown copyright [and database rights] 2019 OS LA100019790
Crown copyright [and database rights]
2019 OS LA100019790, OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA
BRIDPORT AREA NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN (BANP)
View Bridport Town Council webpage
BANP JCC Examiners Report (Final)
BANP JCC and Steering Group Terms of Reference