Volunteers working on the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Knutsford have moved one step closer towards setting policy following the analysis of the initial survey results. The results of the survey, undertaken in September and October 2016, have been considered by the working groups responsible for progressing the nine key areas of the plan.
Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “On behalf of everyone involved in the development of the plan I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to this survey.”
“We are now working with our appointed consultants, Urban Imprint, to review the responses and use this information to draw up a vision, objectives and policies for the draft Neighbourhood Plan”
The raw data gathered from the survey has been published online here: RAW Survey Results (excel)
Volunteers interested in driving the plan forward through the working groups are still welcomed; if you would like to help drive the future of Knutsford, contact the Town Clerk on firstname.lastname@example.org.
PUBLISHED PERCENTAGE* OF RESPONDING RESIDENTS IN FAVOUR OF SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENT
97% – Improve Safety & Efficiency of Transport Network
96% – Reduce Congestion
91% – Improve & Develop Pedestrian Networks
83% – Improve & Develop Cycle Networks
89% – Ensure Ease of Access of Public Transport across Knutsford
85% – Ensure all Homes & Businesses connected to Superfast Broadband
61% – Knutsford should have a Relief Road despite probability of infill development
(*Percentage of residents who both agree & strongly agree to specific development)
Knutsford’s historic open spaces with their open views is the aspect that was seen as most important to Knutsford’s distinctiveness and character, closely followed by the historic ambience of its streets and its historic buildings and memorials. Nearly three quarters of respondents strongly agreed that new development should respect the local vernacular and character of Knutsford.
In response to how residents thought that the Neighbourhood Plan should enhance the historic feel of Knutsford the issues identified by the highest proportion of respondents were the preservation and conservation of the historic buildings and green open spaces; the improvement or enhancement of the public realm in the Town Centre and the character of Canute Square; the removal or reduction in excessive street signage, furniture, ‘clutter’ and traffic; the creation of infrastructure to improve accessibility and visitor services and a design guide for developments.
Respondent’s further comments covered a very wide range of topics, however there were a significant number of references to the importance of heritage to future generations and to the economy of the town, also contemporary architecture and sympathetic new developments and use of heritage assets.
The results of the town centre questionnaire resulted in no surprises, the opinions are totally in line with previous questionnaires.
In essence, residents wish to have a vibrant town centre which is friendly, clean, safe and a place where there is less conflict between pedestrians and vehicles. On the whole whilst the town centre does fulfil their needs there is much which could and should be done to make significant improvements for the long term benefit of both residents and the town centre businesses.
Education & Community
Analysis of survey results indicate high support for youth centre for teenagers/young people, both indoor and outdoor facilities. Also meeting halls to be available to everyone at low cost.
New school places must be sustained with house growth and adult education/evening classes should be accessed within the town. Schools should be within easy travelling distance from home to relieve congestion on the roads. All schools to provide good exercise routines for children.
Between 92% and 97% of replies strongly or very strongly agreed that new housing developments should reflect the scale and building styles of Knutsford as a historic market town; that the quality of in-fill developments, conversions and extensions should add to the look of the town; that existing views of the local landscape should be protected and new vistas created; and that facilities and amenities in new developments should complement not replace those in the town centre.
Just under 90% of replies support a mix of housing types and tenures on each new development. One in three do not want Knutsford to have any more new homes than already allocated; rather more thought additional homes should be on the present sites and the rest suggested a variety of locations with in-town sites being the most suggested. The responses provide strong guidance for Housing Policies in the Neighbourhood Plan.
The views which the community have expressed in the survey will know help us to develop the town to have health services which will reflect our growing town in the future. Working with other health professionals we will be able to discuss the best outcome which can be achieved for the benefit of all, and how to access those services by public transport an be best achieved.
We shall also be considering very closely what levels of pollution that our town will be experiencing as the growth in traffic in general and aircraft will increase.
The response level also indicated the towns view that green spaces for the purpose of walking, cycling and generally keeping fit is a key consideration for us to take forward.