Orleton

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Orleton Parish Plan

This is a copy of the Orleton Village Parish Plan and was completed in March 2006. It has been adapted for the web from a PDF which is available for download here..

Orleton up to now

Orleton parish boundary At the end of the ice age a glacier melted in this area forming "Lake Woofferton"; eventually resulting in a valleyed, fertile area.

It remained as such, blessed with a ready supply of water via a stream (Mill Brook) flowing from surrounding hills, with a ford crossing point and sheltered, low lying land. A natural place to attract a settlement, this area, at the time of Domesday Book, became known as Alretvne (the enclosure of the alders). We still have them along our stream in 2005.

The manor of Orleton was given by William the Conqueror to Ralph de Mortimer. It contained "4 hides of land which pay tax. In Lordship there are 4 plough teams with 11 villagers, 15 smallholders, a reeve (magistrate) and a rider; between them 7 ploughs, 6 slaves, 5 ploughmen and a smith." A hide was a measure of land which could be ploughed by one man with an ox in one year. This could vary from 160 acres to 20 depending on land quality.

For many centuries the settlement revolved around agriculture and was self sufficient with its local produce, smiths, cobblers, clog makers, millers, stone masons, wheelwrights and carpenters.

In 1855 a public elementary school and school master's residence was built in a 19th century style, with a capacity for 99 pupils to serve the community. The population in 1911 was 584 and there were 132 houses in the whole parish.

There were no street names but "Kings Road" was the same in appearance as it had been since early Victorian times, whereas "Millbrook Way" had a farmhouse and buildings plus four cottages. The roadside was lined with damson trees. View of Orleton from Rise Hill

The first major developments were Hallets Well and Green Lane Council Houses after World War ll and the early 1950s.

The community still employed many of its inhabitants on farms and sawmills whilst virtually every woman relied on seasonal farm work to supplement income.

More commuting to work and schools, media accessibility and urban inhabitants spurred change in the 1960s. Orleton wanted to have the same amenities as other places and eventually the District Council agreed to provide mains water and sewerage.

The Parish of Orleton now has 420 houses, population of over 850, a Post Office Stores, farm shop, 2 pubs, the Boot and the Maidenhead, Church, Chapel, Village Hall and excellent primary school and Doctors surgery.

With its mix and comparative affluence the community has retained its clubs, societies ,amenities and vibrance.

St. Georges Church Why a Parish Plan?

Early in 2004, the Parish Council decided that in order to retain as much local involvement in planning, it was becoming necessary to prove to County Council that they really did know exactly how the community felt Orleton should develop. At this time grant funding was available to set up the study by local people and develop a plan based solely on the requirements of the local community.

Orleton road sign How was it done?

Parish Council held a public meeting setting out the basic requirements and a group of volunteers formed a steering group. Public meetings were held both for adults and youngsters from 12 – 18 yrs and a questionnaire designed for both groups. A Tea Party was held at which children below age 12 were encouraged to voice their opinions. Questionnaires were distributed to every household in Orleton Parish (an excellent response rate was achieved of almost 2/3rd of households - 235 households completed questionnaires from a total of 367 in the Parish) and the opinions shown formed the basis of suggestions made to start off a ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition’ held over 4 days in the Village Hall ( 466 people came through the door at the ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition’ Exhibition, the 2001 census showed a total population of 825) The information gleaned from all these sources became the raw material from which this document was created.

The appendices show the information gained from the questionnaire and the ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition’. It is intended that all this information will also be available on a village web site. Throughout the plan, percentages are of the respondents to a particular question unless otherwise stated.

Whose plan is it?

The Plan belongs to the Village. Every effort has been made to reflect all views on every subject touched on in the final plan. All the data from which it was produced came from the Parish and every resident was encouraged to participate.

The fact that nearly 2/3rds of the Parish filled in the questionnaire will allow the Parish Council both to be proactive and also to respond appropriately to government initiatives and funding opportunities.

Housing

Whilst it is possible for a community to exist without a shop, post office, school, church or village hall it cannot do so without its people! Do we have sufficient houses already in Orleton? Are they of the most appropriate size and type? Do we need more or not? If we do, then how many more are needed and where should they be built or indeed where should we avoid building them? Of what type and style should they be? In the past an Old People’s Home existed in the village and residents were able to move into appropriate accommodation as they aged maintaining community ties. Homes for the elderly cropped up again and again at the ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition'.

The ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition' showed interest for new building to be environmentally efficient.

When asked what sort of development sites were preferred, 31% favoured conversion of redundant buildings, 21% single building infill,18% small group infill with expansion on the village edge at 8% and 6% around the Parish.

Half of the respondents would like to see a mixture of architectural styles, 20% traditional, 12% timber framed, 9% modern and the remainder Georgian. Our survey showed there is a need for starter homes, low cost homes and some form of sheltered accommodation for the elderly. This confirms the results of Herefordshire Council Housing needs study of July 2003.

At the ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition’, it became very clear just how passionate attendees were about housing development. Clearly the planning process needs to keep the local community well informed of and involved in new development.

153 respondents to the questionnaire felt insufficient publicity is given to planning applications.

Action Plan 1 - Housing
The visionActionPartnersTiming
Housing needs survey Research, identify new housing needs. Herefordshire Council. Parish Council Herefordshire Council survey July 2003 then every five years maximum.
Potential development sites Identify suitable & acceptable sites for local needs, affordable housing & housing for the elderly Parishioners, Parish Council, Herefordshire Council, Marches Development Agency Ongoing
Planning Better publicity to be given to planning - e.g. notice board at shop. Clerk / Parish Council. Immediate / ongoing
Sustainable development. 3.7.2 UDP Environment efficiency of new building. Orleton Parish Council. Herefordshire Council - planning Immediate / ongoing

Commercial / Industrial development

From the answers in the ‘Commercial’ section of the questionnaire it appeared a number of people were investigating starting their own business and would appreciate advice. After trawling the grapevine, local directories and notice boards a list of businesses was compiled, these are broken down in the following chart. There are probably more businesses which were not discovered.

Questionnaire answers

Out of a total of 191 answers, 41 would be interested in advice from a funding expert to help them establish or build their business. The expert would be able to advise on grants/awards for this area and how they might apply to various businesses. Although 68 people said they did not want any advice a further 82 said they were not sure.

The need for a village web site was split. Further study is required on a possible website hopefully placing the results of the plan online. This would also incorporate a business directory to encourage people to use local businesses.

A Local Economy Trading System (LETS or Barter Economy) would enable people to trade services/favours in the community, encourage use of parish businesses and foster a good community spirit. People were asked if they were interested in this, the majority of answers were ‘Don’t know’ (162) so perhaps we could have worded this better. The other answers were split with 128 saying ‘No’ and only 69 replying ‘yes’.

Many respondents wanted broadband in the village, Orleton area went live in February 2005. This is of excellent benefit for businesses based at home.

Asked if they would use a Resource Centre, 364 people answered: yes 147; no 161; don't know 56

RETAIL OUTLETS AND PUBS

Orleton is very lucky to have a Post Office Stores and a Farm Shop. There is everything one could need for a weekly shopping expedition.

Of the 394 people who answered questions regarding Orleton Post Office and Stores 188 shop weekly and 117 daily with one fifth less frequently. Newspapers and groceries being favourite purchases, while paying bills, information leaflets, banking, pensions and TV licences are best reasons for visiting the Post Office.

Of the 373 people who answered questions regarding Orleton Farm Shop, almost a quarter buy weekly and half less frequently. There they find fresh produce and locally bred meat sold by breed; local crafts are among their variety of products.

Both shops sell Fair Trade goods bought by over two fifths of respondents and only one fifth never buy Fair Trade goods.

The Mobile shop has one twentieth of trade from people answering the question.

Reasons given for supporting local shops were all equal: saves time;: like the social contact and saves transport. Of these two thirds said they buy last-minute items. Reasons for shopping out of Orleton were mainly more choice, secondly cheaper and a few said it was more convenient to shop near their place of work.

The Pubs

The two pubs in the parish are a popular meeting place and location for relaxation. The Boot Inn sees almost a quarter of its customers on a daily or weekly basis and three quarters less frequently, while one eighth of respondents never visit. The Maidenhead Inn entertains one quarter of its customers daily or weekly and three quarters less frequently; just under a quarter of respondents never visit the Inn.

Of the 325 people who expressed an interest 185 said there should be no smoking in public inns, 98 thought smoking should be allowed and 39 didn't know.

Education

Orleton has a ‘Beacon Status school and has recently also been awarded a ‘Gold Artsmark’. It plays a vital part in the community, giving an excellent education. It also brings in support for other aspects of the village.

The Walking Bus, autumn term 2004

This runs on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday from the village hall to school and visa versa. There are 16 volunteers to accompany up to an average of 10 children. Hopefully it will continue to flourish, and the village children will make full use of it.

Pre-School

A Pre-School group operates every weekday morning at the Village Hall, creating a natural flow of pupils to the Primary School. There is also a Mother & Tots group once a week.

Day/Evening Classes

There was a good interest shown in day/evening classes. Computing was the favourite, with 64 people wanting daytime classes and 36 wanting an evening class. Languages came a close second, with 31 daytime and 27 evening. Crafts also appeared as though they would be supported well by the local area.

There was also an all round interest in other recreational facilities in Orleton.

Roads

In the returned questionnaires it was noted that there were 331 cars, 25 vans, 1 motorbike, 5 lorries and 173 bicycles in our parish.

329 people said there are danger spots on the roads with 36 saying everything was O.K and 20 don’t knows.

The main areas of danger are all the exits from the village, the cross roads at the village shop, outside school at peak times, outside the doctors surgery, Ashley Moor cross roads, the bridge in the centre of the village and the turn out from Hallets Well.

285 people said the traffic travels too fast, in general, especially on the B4361 by the Maidenhead Inn, along the Comberton / Woofferton road and down Kitchen Hill road. A 40 mph limit has now been introduced on the B4361, which does seem to help.

Environment

Herefordshire is one of the most beautiful and rural counties of the UK and the results of the questionnaire show how much our small area is appreciated by the majority of residents. From being a small village engaged mainly in agriculture, the Parish of Orleton has grown to a population of just below 1,000. Many of our residents have retired from the cities and the south of England, and happily, the original 'old families' are still in evidence. Work is needed in order to retain our younger members. Tourism could be one way of encouraging employment, so all the more reason to enhance the wonders and enjoyment of the countryside.

Footpaths and bridleways

The majority of people have very little problem with footpaths, brambles and nettles being the worst problem, with crops over the paths and high stiles coming second. Farm animals and barbed wire are cause for concern. The bridleways need attention with gates, overhanging trees and undergrowth hampering riders.

Nearer to home

Two thirds of the people answering considered street lighting to be reasonable or good while only two fifths thought security lights were reasonable or good and the majority didn't know, however, at the ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition’, passionate pleas were made both for more street lighting (especially in the Hallets and St Georges Crescent areas) and for less light pollution from street lights.

A similar number thought that the pavements were poor. The reason given in 66% of complaints was dog fouling. Dog fouling was seen as a problem by a large number of people in general. '’Planning for the Future Exhibition' also produced requests for dog excrement bins throughout the village.

The youth and children really disliked dog fouling and wished for the owners to be fined.

Four fifths of answers said the state of grass verges is good/reasonable, the other fifth thought them poor or didn't know. However, long grass and unruly hedging were said to cause problems to drivers at most outlying road junctions and crossings.

Village Hall

Orleton is very fortunate to have a hall built only 7 years ago, along with a very capable management committee. The vast majority of respondents thought the hall should be left as it is and needed no extension. Although there are some keen organisations regularly using the Hall, the '’Planning for the Future Exhibition' and questionnaire highlighted several other areas of interest: or asked for existing activities to be expanded. The most popular were keep fit classes, yoga and a history group and with, rather more fancifully, swimming and a fitness gym. The questionnaire results suggested that classes in computing, languages, crafts and art might prove popular.

The under 12 yrs children would like a junior Youth Club, Board Game club and Nature Club.

Much more extensive use could be made of the Hall for social and educational activities which would help its financial viability.

Recreation Ground and Woodland Area

Many respondents to the questionnaire and at '’Planning for the Future Exhibition' wished for more facilities at the recreation ground. Also it was suggested that coaching for some activities would encourage their use. High on the list were:, Tennis, Cricket and especially a wall for practising ball skills.

The youngsters (primary school age) were unanimous in wanting a more grown up play area with seesaw and larger swings etc more suitable to their age.

Social Clubs and Sport

The parishioners appear to support a wide range of social clubs and sports, in the parish, when available or otherwise in the local area.

Hospitals, Doctors, Dental Services

Most people were generally happy with the services provided. A very few, 13—19 reported frequent problems with the services provided by Hospitals and Doctors. A slightly higher number had problems with Dental services.

Police Services

The majority thought policing was reasonable/good. A greater police presence was requested by 171 of the people who filled in the questionnaire. Petty Vandalism was seen as a problem by many people. One way of dealing with this was thought to be more activities for young people. The incidence of crime was low. Most incidents were of a petty nature.A neighbourhood Watch scheme is now being set up in the Village.

Bus Services

Orleton is well served by buses except for early morning commuters working in Leominster or Ludlow for whom there is no service. The general opinion over the service as a whole was good/reasonable. However a large percentage recorded no opinion, possibly because they do not use buses.

A requirement was noted for services to the other Wigmore School catchment villages to enable school friendships to develop.

A bus shelter was asked for – especially for the Wigmore School Bus as this may arrive at almost any time within a half hour window and there is nowhere for children to shelter at the top of Millbrook Way.

A surprising number of people use the Community Wheels service.

UTILITIES

It must be pointed out that Water, Electricity and Sewerage services have all been upgraded since the questionnaire was returned so the satisfaction levels may now be different.

Electricity

This was rated as good or reasonable by nearly ¾ of people. A proportion of Orleton is on a different circuit prone to disruption, but this is now being replaced and we are promised an end to the power cuts.

Water

Roughly 60% thought it reasonable or good. A new main has since been installed throughout the village and rusty water is a thing of the past.

Sewerage

More than 40% thought that the service provided was poor. Severn Trent have now completed CCTV surveys and will report in Autumn 2005.

Refuse and cleaning services

Most people were satisfied with the services, however, there was a definite and widespread desire for re-cycling services (over 300 respondents said they would use a bottle bank) although some debate as to where the facilities should be sited. The most popular location being by the Village Hall or on the Recreation ground

Local Government

Less than half the respondents were aware of the responsibilities of Parish Council and few more were aware of where and when it meets. Only 250 knew who their representatives at Parish and County level are.

Orleton’s Youth

Results from the separate questionnaire for 12 – 18 year olds have been included in the main text where possible. Shown here are some of their other views and some of the requests from the younger children.

Conclusion

It was apparent from questionnaire and the ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition’ that Orleton is still perceived as a quiet, peaceful and safe environment with an excellent community spirit. It is to be hoped that the information gleaned and compiled in this plan will prove helpful in maintaining these wonderful attributes.

Our thanks go to all those who helped in so many ways - from hours of typing of questionnaires, answering so many questions at the ‘Planning for the Future Exhibition’, providing teas and refreshments there and at the youngsters’ Tea Party to collating and printing and delivering. Special thanks to Alf Jenkins for allowing use of his writing in the introduction.

The Parish Plan Steering group were: Diane Harris, Jenny Harrison, Marcia Jack, Ryan O’Neill, Andrew Summers, Gordon Treacy and Ruth Tune.