Analysis of Parish Assembly

In producing a recording of the Parish Assembly John has performed a great service for the community as a whole.

A number of issues were discussed and for those who were unable to attend the Assembly and perhaps don’t have the resources to listen to the proceedings my observations may be of interest.

I recognise that these may be seen as partial but here they are anyway.

SpiD
It was surprising to learn that the Parish Council were still actively considering the acquisition of a SpiD even though it had no idea how much it would cost to install and run.  More worryingly they seemed to have overlooked the desirability of considering the needs and potential benefits of such a device.

After much discussion, it was agreed that:

  1. There is a perception that traffic speeds through the Village centre are too high.
  2. The only evidence available seems to indicate that only a small proportion of traffic exceeds the existing speed limit.
  3. There is no evidence of the speeds being above the level at which the Police would take any action.
  4. Speed was not seen as a factor in the recent accident involving a pedestrian.
  1. Before proceeding it was agreed that:

5.1  The PC should obtain and publish a report from the County Highways Department on the results of traffic surveys they have carried out.
5.2  The Highways Department should be made aware of the concerns of residents and asked for their suggestions in the light of point 5.1. These discussions should also consider the question of a 20mph speed limit.
5.3  When these discussions have been completed the Parish Council would hold a public meeting if they believe that there is evidence to show that there would be merit in the acquisition of a SpiD.
5.4  At this meeting the PC would publish details of what costs would be associated with the purchase and operation of the SpiD(s) and how these costs would be met.

Communication
In March 2016 I gave a presentation to the Parish Council on what I saw as the potential benefits to the community of an email network.  This idea was vetoed by the Chairman who gave no explanation and had not taken part in the discussion.

Since then the Parish Council has mentioned communication and email without any evidence of what they are proposing or whether it is accepted by all members.

It would appear that some residents have agreed that they will investigate and report on the possibility of the village having an ‘official’ website with the aim of improving communication.

If this is to succeed the Parish Council needs to:

  1. Set out precisely what it understands by ‘Communication’ and confirm that this is accepted by every member of the Parish Council.
  2. Appoint one or more Parish Councillors to oversee the exercise.
  3. Set out a timetable for the project.
  4. Ensure that every household is kept informed about the project.
  5. Ensure that when the exercise is completed it takes into account the needs of those residents who are not users of the internet.

Other issues
While a number of other concerns were discussed I feel that these would overtax the resources of our Parish Council if they were to attempt to deal with too many problems at once.

Graham Williams

One thought on “Analysis of Parish Assembly”

  1. The biggest imponderable is communication. It’s quite clear that what passes as communication at the moment is not working as it should.

    Wagtail is unidirectional. Notices on the various Parish notice boards are unidirectional. Conventional websites are unidirectional. Even notices or articles in the press or other media are unidirectional.

    But for communication to have any benefit to either our Parish Council or indeed our Village Hall, it has no value unless it is bidirectional. For instance the PC leafleting parishioners as part of a consultation process requires some form of response gathering. Organisations, to function properly in a democratic society need to have processes in place in order to harvest the views of the very people they serve.

    Like it or not the open meeting held a short while back was a superb example of proper communication. I accept that there were those who disagreed with various threads running through the Village Blog over a period of time. The result being that some 40+ people attended an open meeting and discussed the issues. I am delighted that we had been able to generate this level of involvement. It is the raison d’être for the Blog.

    It was also unprecedented. Anything even approaching this has only occurred on single issue matters like the sale of the Dragons Head and the threatened cancellation of bus subsidies. In this instance however the involvement was generated because a Blog is a bidirectional communication instrument.

    I know that Graham is in favour of an email network as the communication medium. I am not. In my view emails provide for a two way (bidirectional) conversation, but essentially between only two individuals. What is desirable is a process for the central body, the PC for instance, to communicate to its client base with that base being able to respond in a manner that all others can view and interact with.

    An email network does, as in Arkholme, have its purpose but it is not what we need if the PC and Village Hall are to be able to participate in two way conversations.

    Unfortunately our PC does not appear to have been geared up to respond to any activities at anything other than two monthly intervals.

    John Keegan

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