Village Management Committee and Community Partnership – May 2007

Posted by Admin on Sunday, 22nd April 2007, 00:00

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP REPORT
Projects for Young People
Regarding lack of facilities for young people, the Partnership welcomes their views and/or those of their parents. Any achievable suggestions will be more than welcome. Unless and until we have some definite schemes, we are unlikely to obtain funding.

At our last meeting we were pleased to welcome Maxine Yule, Secretary to the Northwood Village Management Committee. Maxine has a wealth of experience in obtaining grant funding and particularly relating to young people. Suggestions needed!

Neighbourhood Watch
We are very fortunate to have been allocated a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) for the village. He is very keen to be involved with us and give support and assistance. He will be attending future Partnership meetings. If there are any points you wish to raise with him, or with any of the Partnership please come along to our next meeting.

We have been informed that the ‘No Cold Calling’ signs, at the village boundaries, should be in position very soon. With these in place our village should be an even safer place in which to live. Everyone can help by displaying the small sign that came with the Pack.

At the recent meeting of Cowes Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators, concern was expressed regarding a number of recent walk-in burglaries. Residents are reminded to be on their guard and to ensure doors are locked securely as there have been instances recently where burglars have walked into homes whilst residents are out. In Northwood there have been two thefts of number plates; if you have any information contact the Isle of Wight Police on 0845 045 45 45.

Village Map
We are investigating the cost of a village map which would show the main points of the village, church, shops, pubs etc. There is a possibility of Funding. Our thanks to Joyce Knight for all the work she has done to get us this far.

Northwood In Bloom
Our ‘Chief Gnome’ was pleased to announce that the Wight in Bloom event has gained sponsorship for 2007. We have also been told of the Million Blooms scheme and a Project has been submitted for our village. Latest reports suggest that we may well benefit. Yet another good reason to live in Northwood.

It has been suggested that some residents would welcome an opportunity to have an allotment area in the village. Please make your views known to the Partnership. If there is sufficient interest, we will make every effort to work with the Village Management Committee to make it happen.

Don’t forget, if you want to have your say or help in any way, in keeping and improving our village for everyone, please come along to any of our meetings. They all start at 6pm and are held at Northwood Primary School.

Our next meeting is to be held on Monday 14th May 2007.

Colin Palmerton, Northwood Community Partnership.

Isle of Wight Boundary Review
The Boundary Commission are investigating altering the wards in which we elect Isle of Wight Councillors to represent our views at County Hall. It is the Commission’s intention to ensure that ward sizes remain at about the same size, so as to ensure equal representation across the Island. Currently there is an anomaly insofar as the smallest ward (Gurnard 1513 electors) has almost half the electorate of the largest ward (Wootton Bridge 2902 electors). Northwood is currently one of the smaller wards with 1845 electors, so unless there is a proposal to create more Councillors it is inevitable that Northwood would share Roger’s successor with another area.

In a nutshell, The Isle of Wight Council have made a suggestion to the Boundary Commission whereby the number of Island Councillors are reduced from 48 to 40. The Council has suggested that to do this in the Cowes area, there will be 3 County Councillors (reduced from 4) and one Councillor serving Gurnard and “most of Northwood” reduced from the current 2. It has been suggested that the “rest of Northwood” would be incorporated within the Cowes Medina Ward. To make things that little bit more confusing for the “rest of Northwood”, the new Parish Council when created will comprise the existing ward of Northwood, rather than any future electoral division.

In order to try to understand the Isle of Wight Council’s proposals more fully, I asked for a road-by-road account of which part of Northwood is considered to be in the “rest of Northwood” as opposed to “most of Northwood”. I have been told that the boundaries have been left as ‘vague’, and as such there is no detailed map. To reduce the electorate by 412 to 2995 we therefore can only surmise that areas such as Somerton and Medham have been included to be in the “rest of the village”. The concern that I would have within this context is that residents’ views could be marginalised, particularly if these homes are then incorporated into a Cowes ward. Roger assures me that at the moment this is an initial exercise in working out roughly numerically appropriate new electoral divisions but that where this would cause a fragmentation of existing parish and community boundaries, then it is not the numbers which are of importance but the preservation of established community identities. This would therefore mean that Northwood and Gurnard would combine to form one electoral division slightly larger in terms of the number of voters than the average of about 3000 voters.

It is our view that in light of recent widespread consultation for Emparishment and for our communities Parish Plan, we want to ensure the whole of Northwood remains as it is at present and that it is in no way broken up. Any fragmentation of the village by the Boundary Commission would undo many years of hard work in developing a recognised community spirit for Northwood and would compromise that sense of community for our future Parish Council. If it is considered necessary to share a Councillor with another area we would prefer to share our Councillor as a whole Community, rather than as part. This could be either with the Gurnard Ward (whose Parish Council shares ours re fragmentation) or alongside the Calbourne Ward (which includes Porchfield and Thorness). Any effects of the alleged under-representation as part of a large ward, i.e. with Gurnard I consider to be unfounded, particularly given the supportive roles from the Parish Councillors which will serve both villages from next year.

If you require any further information regarding the Boundary Review for the Isle of Wight you can contact the Isle of Wight Review Manager on 020 7271 0500 (website: www.boundarycommittee.org.uk), or if you have any suggestions concerning the Isle of Wight Council’s response to this review, as outlined above you can speak to Clive Joynes from the Council’s Electoral Services Department on 01983 823341; email electoral.services@iow.gov.uk or see the proposals outlined on the Isle of Wight Council’s website: www.iwight.com/home/latest_news/boundary_review
Paul Fuller

Safer Communities
Last month Eileen Palmerton and ourselves attended the Cowes Safer Communities Forum meeting which was called in response to arising issues within the town. With us were Isle of Wight Councillor for Gurnard, John Hobart and P.C. Mark Thomas. Residents and ‘stakeholders’ were asked what the main crime and disorder issues were in the town and the three areas identified in priority order were:

1. Anti-social behaviour.
2. Parking issues.
3. Lack of facilities for youth.

Although the meeting was designed specifically for Cowes residents, they did mirror the issues in Northwood. We were assured that each of these top issues would receive action from relevant stakeholders (Police, IW Council, Community Partnership, etc.). Every single issue, and there were many, was recorded and will be actioned in descending order of priority, as determined by those at the meeting.
Paul Fuller and Colin Palmerton

Parish Plan Update – Planning For Real Exhibition
At the end of last month we held our Planning For Real Exhibition, whereby we invited residents to add their wish-list within the giant map of Northwood, built by the children from our very own outstanding Northwood School. This will give us even more information as to what we put into our Parish Plan.

Many, many thanks again to everybody that has contributed so far. I am currently in the process of wading through and absorbing the many responses. If you made separate comments that warrant individual attention I apologise to those to whom I have not yet responded.

Questionnaire Analysis
The top priorities that residents considered to be pursued within the Parish Plan, are as follows:

Neighbourhood Watch and Crime Prevention. (663 scored)
Support Services for Vulnerable Residents. (594 scored)
Public Footpaths, and Access to the Countryside. (557 scored)
Dog Bins. (484 scored)
Northwood In Bloom and Village Planting. (478 scored)
Litter Bins. (464 scored)
Children’s Play Facilities. (430 scored)
Bus Shelters. (360 scored)

During the last Questionnaire conducted in 2002, the most popular specific projects outlined then were improving the children’s play facilities in the Park, improved lighting and litter bins!
Paul Fuller

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