First major NDP consultation meeting shines a light on Parish vision

Over 70 people representing a large cross section of Sutton Benger and Draycot Cerne’s residents, business owners and landowners, attended an important public consultation meeting in the Village Hall on Wednesday 30 September.

The meeting – which was the first major public engagement of its kind in the Parish – was to explain the purpose and process of a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). The Parish of Sutton Benger has recently embarked on the process of writing an NDP and a key element of the ‘journey’ is engagement and consultation with all parts of the community.

Listening to the Parish

Here's what you see as our Parish's strengths.
Here’s what you see as our Parish’s strengths.

The most important aspect of last week’s meeting was attendees’ participation in a ‘SWOT’ analysis. Groups were invited to identify the present Strengths or Weaknesses within the Parish. Then, looking to the future the groups identified potential Opportunities and Threats. Each group spent about 10 minutes on each theme, and were asked to contribute their views and thoughts on Post-it notes. Over 200 views were gathered in a very short space of time.

The next stage in the process is to analyse this information and use it to create a vision statement for the Parish of Sutton Benger.

Identifying skills

Attendees were also asked to complete a form stating how they prefer to be kept informed on NDP progress. The overwhelming majority of those present also signed up to work on the plan and identified – from a list of 22 ‘skills areas’ – what support and expertise they are able to offer.

Commenting on the success of the evening, Baz Worth, Chair of the NDP Steering Group said: “I am delighted that so many people – from all parts of the Parish – were able to attend and participate. Writing an NDP will take us 2-3 years and it is essential that we engage with the whole community throughout the process. This was a very important first step along that journey.”

Next Steps

The next stage is a detailed analysis of all the contributions to the SWOT process. All in Sutton Benger and Draycot will be regularly informed of progress on the community led project. The next major meeting is scheduled for some time in November. In the meantime here is how to keep in contact: