8 Chronology and Methodology

On 2 April 2007, nearly 100 residents from Great Bealings, Little Bealings and Playford gathered in the Angela Cobbold Hall to learn about the Parish Plan process - and to make the important decision of whether the three parishes should go ahead and produce one - or more - Parish Plans.

After listening to a presentation by Suffolk ACRE's Rural Services Officer, the meeting debated whether to develop a single plan for all the villages or to have a separate plan for each village. On a vote, it was agreed to go ahead with creating a single shared parish plan with a joint steering group to carry out consultation and present findings.

A steering group of 15 people from the 3 parishes was formed, tasked with gaining a budget to allow a Parish Plan to be created, consulting with parish residents and then creating the plan itself. It was formally called the "Joint Parish Plan Steering Group" or JPPSG.

The JPPSG decided that the key issues of the residents would be found by inviting them to exhibitions to be held in the village halls and to write their views on display boards based on to a set of "Themes". These views were then crystallised in a focus group and used to drive the creation of the surveys to be used to establish the residents' views. It was also decided to have separate surveys for the adult residents and the young residents, together with a separate survey for each household, aimed at establishing demographics.

The surveys that were arrived at by this method were quite exhaustive, with 31 questions in the household survey, 197 questions in the residents' survey and 121 questions in the young residents' survey. This is considerably more than is often the case with parish plans.

Surveys were hand-delivered by volunteers to each household within the 3 parishes and the same volunteer called to collect the results. By using volunteers in this way, the steering group was hoping to get 70-80% returns.

Data was entered into a custom designed web application by volunteers and the data was analysed using database and custom software.

A separate Stakeholders Working Group was set up, tasked with using focussed interviews with representatives of groups involved in the villages, in order to understand the viewpoints of those groups.

The outline calendar of events is below (note that there were meetings of the steering group typically every three weeks and most of these are not mentioned. Minutes of these are available on the Internet ):

2 April 2007

Open Meeting in Village Hall

22 May 2007

Inaugural Meeting of Steering Group
Officers (except secretary) elected
Decision to apply for funding

19 June 2007

Appointment of secretary

25 September 2007

Initial application for funding submitted

25 October 2007

Grant of £3,200 approved by Suffolk ACRE

3 and 10 November 2007

Consultation exhibitions held in Bealings Village Hall and Playford Parish Hall

20 November 2007

Consultation focus group

8 January 2008

Initial draft of surveys

28 May 2008

Final version of surveys ready for printing

30 May and 4 June 2008

Volunteer distributors briefings

June - September 2008

Distribution and collection of surveys

July - October 2008

Data entry

25 October 2008

Data analysis workshop

18 March 2009

Draft report ready

20 April 2009

Report printed

25 April 2009