Allendale Neighbourhood Development Plan
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Allendale Neighbourhood Development Plan

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20 Jan 2012 – http://www.inorthumberland.org.uk/ (Accessed 17 November 2011). Northumberland County Council, n.d. Neighbourhood Services Litter ...

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Allendale Neighbourhood Development Plan School Consultation Report Date: 20 January 2012 This document is one of three reports prepared by a team of fifth year Post Graduate Planning Diploma students from Newcastle University. The students acted as consultants to the Allendale Neighbourhood Plan Project Steering Group as part of a consultancy module in their final year work programme. Their work helps to form the background evidence base for the Allendale Neighbourhood Plan. Members of the student consultant team were: Lee Crawford Philip Dobinson Richard Holland Hannah Nelson David Wood The School Consultation Report summarises the middle school engagement event that was planned, carried out and analysed by the student consultant team. The engagement event itself took place in November 2011 and used interactive voting technology as well as group discussions to obtain quantitative and qualitative feedback. Following analysis of the children’s feedback, the student consultant team has made a number of recommendations at the back of this report. 1 Contents 1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 4 2. Methodology .................... 6 Initial Research ..................................................................................................................................... 6 Consultation Event .............................. 7 Data Presentation and Analysis ....................................................................................................... 9 3. Data Analysis ................................................. 10 Transport to school ........................................................................................... 10 After school transport ....................................................... 13 Bus stop provision ............................................................................................ 13 Cycling .................................................................................. 14 Internet Use ......................................................................... 16 Dog Fouling ......................................................................... 17 Open Space ......................................................................... 19 Sports .................................................................................... 20 Other Leisure ....................................................................... 22 Local Services ..................................................................... 23 Country or city living ......................................................... 24 4. Evaluation ....................................................................................... 28 Introduction ......................................................................... 28 Successes ............................................................................ 28 Limitations ........................................................................... 29 Departure from original methodology ...................... 29 Other constraints ........................................................................................................................... 30 Lessons learned ................................. 31 2 Pre-consultation planning ........................................................................................................... 31 On the day ........................................ 32 Transport .............................................................................................................. 34 Internet .................................................. 36 Dog Fouling ......................................................................................................... 36 Open Space ......................................... 37 Sports .................................................................................................................... 37 Other Leisure ....................................... 37 Local Services ..................................................................................................... 38 Country or City Living ....................................................................................................................... 38 6. Recommendations ........ 40 7. Bibliography ................................................................................................................... 42 Appendix A- Schools Consultation Guide and Detailed Methodology ................................ 44 Appendix B: Allendale Case Study ............................................................................................... 49 3 1. Introduction 1.1 Neighbourhood planning is designed to be a community-led process and representative of local people. Within society, children represent a traditionally ‘hard to reach group’ for plan-makers. It is important that children have their say in the preparation of the Allendale Neighbourhood Plan as they represent the future of the parish and will be impacted by the future development of their area. 1.2 At present, there are many community activities and events in the parish. There are, however, relatively few opportunities for children to actively engage with the planning of their neighbourhood. 1.3 The Allendale Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group decided that it would be useful to undertake a consultation event in a local school, enabling children’s voices to be genuinely heard, considered and constructively used in the preparation of the neighbourhood plan. 1.4 Allendale Middle School was identified as the most appropriate venue for an event to be held due to its size, central location within the parish and willingness of staff thto get involved. An initial meeting, held on 14 October 2011, with the school’s head teacher, revealed that consultation with her students would be welcomed. After visiting the school it was considered that the site had the appropriate facilities for hosting such an event. The school has approximately 130 children, divided into 4 classes ranging from Years 5 to 8. The year groups offer the views and suggestions from children between ages 9 and 13. The school has a significant catchment area, drawing children from across the parish and beyond its boundaries. It was considered that wide geographic pull could provide the views of children from within the boundaries, but also reveal issues from outside the parish which directly impact upon it. 1.5 The Steering Group considered it important that school children were engaged early in the neighbourhood planning process in order to frontload their involvement. This approach moves away from traditional ‘tokenistic’ consultation activities and allows the children’s views and comments to be incorporated into the process while the plan is 4 being developed. The intention of engaging children in the process is to foster a sense of ownership of the neighbourhood plan, mobilising them to become more actively involved in shaping the development of their area. The event was also intended to spark community interest, stimulating children to have conversations with their parents which would raise the profile of the neighbourhood planning process. In terms of wider consultation activities, the event also sought to uncover cross-generation issues as often children express the opinions and follow the lifestyle choices of their elders. 5 2. Methodology Initial Research 2.1 Initial research within the parish was necessary so that the consultation material was relevant and meaningful. We attempted to gain a clear understanding of who lives, works and visits the parish as well as the existing infrastructure prior to any consultation with the school children. 2.2 There was a desktop review of existing information on community consultation to investigate the most appropriate methods to apply. A variety of different tools and approaches were analysed to ensure the consultation informs the study and benefits the school children. We contacted Planning Aid to see what advice or support they could offer from their experience of working with children in such situations. From the initial research we understood that particular considerations are required when consulting with children; however the underlying good practice principles remain the same. 2.3 The consultation was designed to be:  Relevant to infrastructure in Allendale Parish;  Based on innovative and creative techniques to stimulate children;  Tailored to the participants’ age and interests;  Non-technical, avoiding planning jargon;  A stimulus for the children to actively engage in discussion;  A discussion of live local issues with the children to encourage them to discuss in the wider community;  Systematically planned to retain focus, stay on topic and produce useful data;  Flexible in nature to respond to unforeseen events. 6 2.4 Ethical issues were also considered during consultation planning, including the protection of legal rights and safeguarding of any confidential information. Consultation Event 2.5 In order to capture a range of types of data to inform the neighbourhood plan, it was decided that the consultation event would adopt both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The advantage of this approach is that statistical information, which is easily presented and analysed could be collected, but also creative proposals and general comments could be extracted. The approach provides a robust evidence base for the plan by demonstrating direct consultation with the children, helping to ensure that their voices are heard. 2.6 Four separate sessions were held, divided by year group, in order to acquire a range of responses across year groups (5-8). The four sessions were designed to be carried out in accordance with the following methodology:  Give a brief presentation to the children prior to the consultation event itself (approximately a week before) to raise the profile of neighbourhood planning and to help stimulate discussions.  Acquire a classroom with a capacity of approximately 30 children and arrange the desks to form 3 or 4 stations. Place A3 sheet of papers on the stations with questions to stimulate discussion of the following infrastructure-related issues: o Transport o Internet Use o Dog Fouling o Open Space o Sports 7 o Other Activities o Local services o Country or City living?  Set up hand-held voting devices which enable the children to answer closed questions on an interactive questionnaire as they appear on an overhead projector.  Test equipment and ensure all desks have relevant materials (paper, pens, post it notes).  Brief facilitators of their role as discussion leaders in advance.  Bring the year group into the classroom and ask them to sit randomly around the stations which can accommodate 8-10 children. Allocate one facilitator to each of the stations. If possible, at least one of the facilitators should be from Planning Aid and have previous experience with schools consultation.  Present a map to the children on the overhead with three discrete geographical areas [Allendale Town + 3 mile radius, the remainder of Allendale Parish, areas outside of the parish boundaries]. Ask the children to indicate which area they live in. Provide the children with a colour pen representing which area they live in [blue pen: Allendale Town + 3 mile radius, black pen: remainder of Allendale Parish, red pen: outside Allendale Parish]. This allows for the data collected to be separated during analysis to help identify themes and concepts in a particular geographical location.  Provide the children with hand-held voting devices and offer brief training. Allow the children to test their understanding of the equipment through test questions.  The session formally begins with a mixture of closed questions using the hand-held devices, interspersed with group discussion around the A3 8 discussion sheets. Children should be given 30 seconds to answer hand-held qualitative questions and 3 minutes to discuss the stimulating questions/discussion points on the A3 sheets overseen by the assigned facilitator. Timing is organised by a central timekeeper who ensures discussion topics are simultaneous across stations. Timing allows for approximately 10 closed questions alongside the previously listed discussion topics.  When all questions and discussions are closed, the central timekeeper should provide a brief conclusion thanking participants and explaining that there will be feedback given at a later session. The feedback session will be completed once analysis of data has been completed and will demonstrate that the children’s contribution was meaningful. This step will be taken as early as possible to ensure the children remain interested in the neighbourhood planning process. Data Presentation and Analysis 2.7 Data collected using the hand-held devices will be easily extracted from its programme into spreadsheets, and in turn used to produce visual charts which can be analysed alongside the qualitative comments on the discussion sheets. The hand- written data will be collated in spreadsheets, arranged by place and topic. The responses will form the basis of the analysis and the statistical data will provide evidence and highlight key trends. For simplicity and consistency, analysis will be complete under the infrastructure-related headings used in the discussion sheets. 2.8 Through the analysis we will identify themes and community issues and offer an explanation of why patterns arise. This process will be done systematically and consider who made the comment, why and what this means for the neighbourhood. Analysis is likely to bring forward key themes which will be addressed through recommendations made in the report. 9