Village Plan

East Winch and West Bilney Village Plan

December 2014.


1 Public Transport.

To contact both Connect and the Xl service to see if they could arrange to come through the

village. Also to see if it possible to have a new bus stop in West Bilney (by post box coming

from Swaffham)

ACTION - Letter from Chair

2 Community Bus Service

The "providers of the service" are meeting shortly. Establish if there will be a route to

Swaffham and how to keep parishioners advised of services provided.

ACTION - Keith Harrod will attend and follow up.

3 Speeding in the Village

The concem with speeding extends to not only the A47, Gayton Road and Station Road but

also to Paws Lane, Common Road and Ashwicken Road. The problem is made worse by the

amount of heavy and agricultural vehicles which now use roads which were not designed to

accommodate them. Thus erosion of banks and any paths which exist continues to occur as

these vehicles pass each other.

ACTION - Clerk will write to Henry Bellingham MP and to Highways continuing to express

parishioners concerns.

4 Speed on the A47

Speed of traffic from the Blackborough End turning through to West Bilney Church.

Safety concerns of using the road by many parishioners and the poor visibility when exiting

Station Road, Common Road, Church Lane and Gayton Road support the need to reduce the

speed of traffic from the current 50mph.

ACTION - Chair will continue to communicate with Highways Authority. (See here)

5 Play Area

ACTION - Keith Harrod to complete analysis of the survey in this area.

6 Footpath to the post office

Discuss with Highways the feasibility of putting in a TROD.

ACTION - Joint Chair, Vice Chair and Clerk to follow up.

7 Paths, footpaths and Rights of Way

Produce detailed maps etc and arrange a monitoring strategy.

ACTION - Keith Harrod will follow up as a project.

8 Awareness of village news and events

The Voice of the Village is the obvious route and to include both East Winch and West

Bilney in with the Middleton Group of parishes would help this. Promotion of the excellent

web site would also be a benefit.

ACTION - Chair to follow up.

9 Broadband and mobile phone reception.

ACTION - Parish Council to monitor progress in this area

10 Parish Council

There appears to be a low profile of what the Parish Council is and who are the Councillors.

Suggested that some form of open day at the village hall to promote the activities of the

Council (and other local organisations) might be a suitable way of resolving the issue.

ACTION - Parish Council to discuss and decide the way forward.

September 2014.

Parish Questionnaire Analysis.

The analysis of the questionnaires has now been completed and may be downloaded - see here.

There were 198 completed questionnaires received.

The following random points are taken from the analysis of the replies received.

Most people who replied have lived in the villages for more than 10 years. Many moved here to have a slower, quieter, more peaceful life in the countryside.

About 50% of those who replied never use public transport, though the great majority are satisfied with the service available. Some people would like buses to come into the village and not just pass along the A47.

The overwhelming majority of people use cars for transport to work, the shops and medical services.

Road safety both on the A47 and through the villages is a major concern; the great majority would support the case for a bypass of the village to be built; many would like to see the speed limit of 50mph on the A47 reduced, with 'speeding' seen as a major problem.

A great many use the internet, but rate the broadband service as poor - with slow speeds and reliability problems. Mobile telephone reception is at best patchy, with many having difficulty with some service providers.

Village news is primarily obtained from reading the Voice of the Villages or by word of mouth, whilst, disappointingly, a rather small number of people use the village web site.

A majority do not know who is the Borough Councillor for the villages - though most claim to know how to contact him. There is about a 2 to 1 ratio of people who feel involved, at least in part, with the community.

Only relatively small numbers think that Health and Public Services are poor.

The Post Office is well thought of with a friendly, welcoming service. The lack of shops is mentioned as being a problem; a general store, newsagent, butcher, hairdresser, fish and chip and another pub all being noted as being absent by some.

The church is seen to be important, as an historical building and for weddings, baptism and funerals, but for Sunday Worship only to a small number of people. The great majority have not attended a service or other event at the church in the past two years. The lack of a Methodist church is noted too.

Roughly equal numbers of people, about a third in each case, consider that there is either a) a need, or b) no need, or c) have no opinion, about the requirement for affordable housing in the villages. Some believe that there are too many houses being built in the villages.

The analysis of the replies may be downloaded - see here:

August 18th.

Parish questionnaires have been collected from households and are now being analysed. This task is expected to be completed by September.

July 22nd. 2014

Copies of the Parish Questionnaire have been delivered to all homes in the villages.

Initially, one copy per household has been delivered. If you wish to have additional copies for others in the family you may download it - see below...

Please take the effort to complete the form - without your doing so the value of the project is diminished.

Completed forms are now being collected from households.

If your form has not been collected, you may leave it at the Post Office and it will be collected from there.

You may download a copy of the questionnaire here.

The file is in .pdf format and is 1680k in size.

May 2014


In order to be able to create a plan for the future needs of the parish, and to make the best use of the resources available to it, the Parish Council has devised a questionnaire to be distributed to all households in the parish.

The aim is to gather information from residents about their views of the parish as it is and what they see as being necessary for the future. The questionnaire has been designed as a series of 'TICK' boxes - to avoid the necessity of too much hand writing. To protect your privacy, you are not asked to provide names or addresses. To ensure that the results are truly representative it is necessary for as many people as possible to respond.

This is an opportunity for you to make your views known and to influence the future of the village.



Forms for completion will be delivered and collected by hand, probably in June; Your help with distribution and collection would be very much appreciated.

If you are able to help, please tell the Parish Clerk - telephone Bob Pannell on 01553 775724

March 2014

A revised draft is currently being considered by the Parish Councillors, prior to it being distributed to households for completion.

January 2014

A draft questionnaire has been drawn up and Parish Councillors have been asked to scrutinise it and consider whether it will provide the information that the Council requires in order to plan for the future of the villages. The questionnaire will be amended if necessary before being delivered to households for completion.

Update at 6 September 2013. A questionnaire is in preparation, to be delivered to households at East Winch and West Bilney, seeking the views of the villagers about what is good, what is not so good and what may be done to change things for the better within the villages.

Expect to see this questionnaire in the not too distant future. Please do respond - don't just drop it in the bin when you receive it. Whilst it may not be possible to do anything much about some problems, unless attention is drawn to concerns then it is certain that nothing will be done. Unless a problem is known about then it will not be addressed.

A view from the gallery.

At a routine meeting of the Parish Council on 7th January 2013, the matter of the proposed preparation of a Village Plan was discussed.

Prior to this, in May 2012 (see below), a speaker from Norfolk Rural Community Council attended a public meeting at the Village Hall. The meeting, was arranged to explain what a Parish Plan was, and to enlist the help of local people in preparing such a plan for East Winch and West Bilney.

The speaker explained that the function of the NRCC was to support parishes in projects that improved the quality of village life. To that end, a Village Plan was thought to be necessary

It was clear that a village plan would help in the following ways: -

    • to find out what is already here that is valued, and what might be improved

    • to prioritise projects; it's unlikely that funding would be available at once for everything that is percieved as necessary;

    • to show potential funders that the projects, for which money is required, have been well researched.

Since the meeting in May 2012 (see below), nothing much has happened. Despite there being expressions of interest shown by those attending the meeting, no one has offered to take the project on board.

To move on to the present time………

The Parish Council, at its meeting in January 2013, was obliged to discuss matters concerning the precept required for the year 2013/2014. This precept would be part of the Community Charge to be applied from April 2013.

The Clerk told the meeting that he had had to take account of the expected expenditure of the Parish Council for 2013/14 when advising the Council upon the level of the precept required.

However, the lack of a Village Plan made it difficult to forecast what the expenditure might be.

A Village Plan would be expected to form the basis of future spending by the Parish Council, to satisfy the needs of the community.

If it were known what projects the Council might support, and over what time scale, then costs could be estimated and used to forecast the level of precept required. Without a plan, and with no knowledge of what the Parish Council might be asked to support, estimating future spending was at best uncertain.

This writer is pretty convinced that the arguments put forward for the need for a Village Plan are valid. It just needs someone with the necessary skills to take the stick and run with it!

East Winch and West Bilney Village Plan

A meeting held at the Village hall on 14 May 2012 was addressed by a representative of the Norfolk Rural Community Council. The following is a report of that meeting.

Meeting to discuss the drawing up of a Parish Plan.

The meeting, arranged to explain what a Parish Plan was, and to enlist the help of local people in preparing a plan for East Winch and West Bilney, was attended by 16 people.

A speaker from Norfolk Rural Community Council explained their function to support parishes in projects that improved the quality of village life. Except for some funding for village halls, they no longer handle money, this is now the responsibility of the Norfolk Foundation.

It was clear that a village plan would help enormously in the following ways:-

to find out what people value that's here already, and what they want to be improved;

to prioritise projects, as it's unlikely we'd get funding for everything that needs doing at once; and

to show potential funders that the projects we say we need money for have been really well researched.

Plans produced by nearby villages, for example Middleton, Gayton and Marham, were circulated. Many of these being very impressive looking documents, in full colour on glossy paper. However, we were told that funding to produce a plan is no longer available, and there were advantages in having a simpler format, for example, a ring binder, which would enable the frequent updating that the funders now require.

The ways in which information can be gathered was discussed. A questionnaire is comprehensive, but many people can't be bothered to complete it. Chatting to interest groups, for example,The Mothers and Toddlers group, can be helpful. Informal methods of collecting information and views from people, like sticking post-it notes on a board are possible.

Most plans take between a year and 18 months to prepare. Volunteers need to gather the information and process it, but the NRCC are pleased to help.

Six people volunteered to help in some way or other. Not all of them can spare huge amounts of time. So, if you think you can help, or can persuade someone else to help, PLEASE contact Simon Conway tel 07789654247.

Thank you!

There are a lot of things that could be done to improve the life of our villages, for example, an improved play area, somewhere for teenagers and a footpath along Station Rd. The Parish Council can't do any of these without funding from elsewhere, and we have to be sure that the projects we want funding for are what you really do want!

Many local villages already have a village plan, compiled by a team of volunteers who hand round a questionnaire, collect it, and report on the results. This provides invaluable information, enabling us to determine which projects are the most important, and bringing to light other needs and ideas.