Village Amenities

Langham Village Facilities & Amenities Survey 2021 - Report & Action Plan

 

BACKGROUND 

In Spring 2021 the Langham Parish Council established a Working Group to gather information from residents of Langham about their views on the existing amenities, facilities and events in the village.

The Langham Community Council own and manage the building shared by the Community Centre, Community Shop and Pre-School, so it was important that the survey incorporated their views about the Community Centre and that they were represented in the Working Group. The Working Group of 5 people was therefore made up from two members each from the Parish Council and the Community Council, and one member of the public.

Online and paper delivered versions of the survey were made available for completion by residents.

The intention was to take on board the views and wishes of the residents and consider improvements and changes that might be reasonably and viably implemented in the Community Centre and the Parish owned Recreation Ground over a period of time. Proposed changes are always subject to cost, and many require the support of volunteers from the village to help make them happen.

Projects identified that involved sites outside of the Community Centre and the Recreation Ground would also be considered as part of this survey.

This briefing is to share the main outputs of the survey responses. It should be remembered these results might not represent the views of the entire village, as we only have the views of those who responded. We are extremely grateful to those people who took the time to respond.

 

RESULTS

173 individual responses were received: 132 by paper, and 41 online.

The age demographic for respondents was heavily skewed towards people > 65years old and 80% of respondents were aged >50. Regrettably this means that the voices of younger residents were not heard.

The majority of respondents live on Moor Road, Chapel Road, and Wick Road.

The survey was split into two parts, although we appreciate that some responses covered both areas.

  1. Recreation Ground & General
  2. Community Centre – which includes, the village hall, the shop, and the pre-school

 

RECREATION GROUND

There was broadly a 50/50 split between those who feel that the general facilities/amenities were adequate to meet their needs, and slightly more who would like to see changes.

In respect of there being enough amenities and events at the Recreation Ground the results were similar, and there was a positive view of the amenities that are currently available.

In respect of existing activities at the Recreation Ground, the majority of respondents had no view but of those who did have a view, the result was overwhelmingly positive.

In respect of the events & activities held at the Recreation Ground there was a mixed view, with the mean around 5.5/10. We feel that this means more, and better use of the Recreation Ground should be considered. This is further underpinned by the majority view to deliver change.

We felt that it was important to understand how often people use the Recreation Ground, and for what reason. It was disappointing to note that 30% of respondents do not use the ground at all. This might reflect the age profile of respondents.

The greatest daily use of the Recreation Ground (excluding one-off Community Events) is the play area, followed by walking and visiting the garden. This result, aligned with subsequent comments made highlighted the importance of the Play Area (see later)

We sought to establish views from the village about some specific activities that might be hosted on the Recreation Ground. The graph below highlights that the key favourites were to bring back the Bonfire/Fireworks event, having a Christmas market, having summer shows, and to a slightly lesser extent providing additional sporting activity.

What is important to understand is that many activities require more new people to help organise and run them. The Community Centre (2 paid employees) & Shop (1 paid employee) are largely run by volunteers, as is the Parish Council (1 paid Clerk). We asked in the survey how many people would be willing to volunteer. We had a very positive response, with 81 people (47%) of respondents indicating that they would be willing to volunteer. This was excellent news – see later.

We also sought to understand the views of villagers on a number of potential new village amenities. The clear favourites were to introduce a form of medical facility and a coffee shop/cafeteria.

For those who would like to have a medical facility we queried what it was that they wanted. A doctor’s outreach practice was by far the most popular.

We anticipated the need for more land if the Council were to provide additional facilities. We therefore asked for their views on the acquisition of more land should it be needed. Only 14% of respondents were not in favour of such an approach.

Most buses in Essex are run by commercial businesses without subsidy from Essex County Council. A small percentage of bus services/routes are run with financial support from ECC. The 81/81A Langham service is an ECC supported service and is operated by Panther Travel. The bus service is provided by an independent private company. It provides an important amenity for the village, so we sought to better understand how the service is used. It was interesting to note that 71% of respondents do not use the bus at all and only a further 18% use it once per month. Only 11% use the bus regularly and mainly for personal/leisure purposes. Our intention was not to include the school buses, but the results suggest that these are included in the responses. The issues with providing a bus service are interlinked between travel cost/timetable/viability for the provider. We are looking to speak to the bus company about their position.

 

COMMUNITY CENTRE

Community Centre (by this we mean the village hall)

51% of respondents never use the Community Centre, which is disappointing, but we wondered to what extent is this response COVID related. However, those people who use the Community Centre were very positive.

 

VILLAGE SHOP

The shop is very popular and widely used. Only 10% of respondents do not use it.

Despite the very positive and encouraging feedback on the shop, the additional comments made expressed the desire for the shop to be bigger, cheaper and with a wider selection of goods. This is not unexpected, although we must be realistic with our ambitions and shop sustainability.

 

PRE-SCHOOL

Too few responses were given to make any analysis viable.

 

FURTHER ANALYSIS

In addition to the standard questions there were also opportunities in the survey for additional comments to be made, particularly in relation to providing ideas, suggestions and other comments relevant to the survey. The additional comments uncovered a richness of opinion that the Parish Council and Community Council have taken onboard and will seek to respond to.

We must be realistic about what we can achieve with the budget that we have or can find, and the extent to which we are empowered to do so. However, the Parish Council and the Community Council are committed to try and deliver change that suits the majority of the villagers and which enhances the sense of community in the village and improves the quality of village life. However, at this point, we repeat that we can only respond to comments made by those who completed the survey.

There were many comments and requests made that were outside the scope of the survey and they will be responded to via normal channels where appropriate. Not every idea can realistically be pursued but the aspiration is to action as many ideas and suggestions as possible.

We categorised the results into 5 Groups.

Group 1

These are the major opportunities and top priority items to be explored and if possible, taken forwards. These tend to be the more are complex, challenging, and expensive items. Also, some of these opportunities cross the boundary between the activities of the Parish Council and the Community Council. On these items the two organisations will continue to work together. Work has already been commenced into some of the ideas.

  • A revamp of the children’s play area
    • We are already in discussions with several providers seeking quotations and ideas for what a revamped play area might look like. Our aspiration is to create something much improved. Cost is a critical factor and grants are likely to be required.

The main and most important point to consider is the views of those who use the play area. It is therefore critical that the village provides an input to the final design.

 

  • A new multi-purpose sports court
    • What this is likely to look like is a third court built alongside the existing two tennis courts, but which provides a wider range of sporting activity that might be of interest to younger adults in the village (eg. 5-a-side football, netball etc). The village must have their say on what will be the eventual range of sports – but this will be restrained by cost and feasibility. This is a complex undertaking and will require grants and/or developer contributions, so this will be a longer-term project. This may be of interest to younger adults in the village. Early discussions have commenced.

 

  • Tearoom/ café facility
    • This is another complex long term project that is under consideration and will take careful planning and consultation.

 

  • The shop
    • A review of the shop facility in consideration of suggestions made will be conducted. Any changes must be feasible, practical, and sustainable.
    • The shop needs more volunteers now and will need even more in the future if it is to sustain any expansion.

 

  • Medical facility
    • This is the most complex consideration of all, and requires close consultation, support and cooperation with CBC, EEC and the NHS. It is outside of our direct control, but we have opened discussions.

 

  • The Pub
    • This was mentioned more than anything else in the responses, usually negatively. However, the pub has now re-opened under new control which should satisfy a good number of respondents, but it will need the continuing support of the village to make it successful. Thus far the re-opened pub appears to answer many of the points raised in the survey and we hope it goes from strength to strength.
    • For the pub to survive it needs support from the village so please make use of it.

 

  • More community events on the Recreation Ground
    • There is scope for more to happen and lots of great ideas were put forward. The challenge is now to make this happen. Volunteers are required to make this happen.
    • We have already made a decision to try and hold a Fireworks Display event in 2022, and a Jubilee Event.

 

  • Reinstate and expand events in the Community Centre
    • Lots of great ideas were put forward which are being considered by the Community Council. Pre lockdown activities are being reinstated where possible.

 

  • Allotments
    • The number of enquiries made in the survey means that the Parish Council has already approached CBC, but a successful outcome is not entirely in our hands.

 

  • Fireworks Display 2022
    • As indicated above the Parish Council is in favour of this event and will endeavour to make it happen. A small working party has already been established with oversight from Councillor John Palmer. As with other activities it requires volunteers so if you wish to help – please get in touch with John via palmer@langhamparishcouncil.com
    • A feasibility study for a 2021 Fireworks Display was conducted in September but the logistics meant that is was too late.

 

  • Jubilee Event 2022
    • A joint working group has already been established, bringing together representatives from the Shop, Community Council and Parish Council. It is being led by Charlotte Parker. Organising such an event needs volunteers so if you are interested, please get in touch with Charlotte. charlotteparker1974@gmail.com

Group 2

This group consists of other suggestions for consideration.

Some of these may be quicker and simpler to deliver, and some not. Some cannot be taken up or afforded by the village. Some examples for consideration are:

  • Increased variety and generally more events and activities on the Recreation Ground. A huge number and variety of suggestions were made about how the area could be used more. These are fantastic food for thought. To turn these suggestions into reality a support group of volunteers is required.
  • Re-cycling suggestions
  • Additional picnic tables in and around the play area and millennium garden area. This idea is being incorporated into the Play Area revamp.
  • Environmentally friendly garden and wildlife/wildflower area. This is under consideration.
  • Improved maintenance of ditches that are Parish Council land.
  • Removal of litter on the recreation ground.
  • Toilets
  • Dog Poo bins.
  • Benches around the village.
  • Overgrown grass, broken gates, fences, benches and other maintenance issues on the Recreation Ground.
  • Basketball hoop.
  • Waste Bins.
  • Conduct of Recreation Ground hirers.

Group 3

This group consists of opportunities to be explored by the Community Council in addition to the items in Group 1

  • A huge number and variety of suggestions were made about how the village hall might be used. These are fantastic food for thought.
  • Car park issues.
  • Events within the Community Centre.
  • Disabled facilities within the Community Centre.
  • Activities related to the shop.

Group 4

Other suggestions that will require support from higher tiers of government (CBC, ECC, Essex Highways etc.) or are in their ownership and responsibility. Links for some of these problems and how to report them already exist on this website.

  • Road sign changes.
  • Ditches/footpaths not owned by the Parish Council.
  • Maintenance of stiles.
  • Potholes
  • Low water pressure.
  • Power cuts.
  • Road drainage issues.
  • Wheelie Bins.
  • Sewerage issues – this is now part of the Vistry homes discussions.

Group 5

This group consists of ideas that we felt to be unrealistic, unaffordable, or unsustainable. These which will not be progressed. However, we thank all those respondents who put forward these innovative ideas.

Not every suggestion, idea or comment can be delivered or answered to the respondent’s desire, and we hope that people will respect that position.

VOLUNTEERS

We cannot overestimate the importance of people in the village coming together to deliver the great ideas that have been submitted. As you will have noted this subject is mentioned regularly in this feedback.

A meeting of the 81 people who expressed interest in volunteering to make things happen in Langham took place on 23rd September. Every person who offered to volunteer in the survey (that the PC had contact details for) was invited. Unfortunately, less than 25% of the 81 that offered their services joined us.  Many great ideas were discussed and now need to be moved into action mode. People are needed who can organise, be the leader or participant of something like the Bonfire/Fireworks or Jubilee Events, and work with the Parish Council and the Community Council. We respect that not everyone wishes to be the leader and so if you wish to be part of the team to play your own part in your own way then your input will be greatly appreciated by the village.

Everybody is important and welcome. Without volunteers many of the great ideas in the survey cannot happen. Your involvement would be supporting your village neighbours.

If you are interested in making things happen for Langham village, please message clerk@langhamparishcouncil.co.uk or for Community Centre activities Sue Armstrong langhamcc@gmail.com

SUMMARY

The Parish Council and the Community Council are extremely grateful to all of those people who took their own time to complete and return the survey. A huge number of thought provoking comments and ideas were submitted, all of which will help the Parish Council and Community Council provide the amenities, facilities and events that the village would like to have.

If we can collectively deliver on the big picture items in Group 1 and some of the smaller opportunities in Group 2, we will create an outstanding village, with a strong sense of community, and a place where people will be proud to live and work.

A pop-in session was held in the village hall by the Parish Council on 4th December. At that session we displayed posters of the potential design for the play area and the multi sports court for you to see and provide thoughts. Sadly, the event was very poorly attended so we are no further forward.

A repeat session is to be held on 22nd January. We implore you to attend and have your say.

If you have children or grandchildren that use the play area, we need to hear your views. If you have an interest in future sports activities on the Recreation Ground, we also need to hear your views.

The Community Council is considering all the ideas for new clubs and activities that were raised in the survey. A Springtime “Activities Fair” to showcase existing clubs and activities, and also to explore potential new activities, may well prove to be a good way forward. Trustees will be asked to consider this idea further at the next Trustee Meeting on 20th January.

In the meantime, the Parish Council and the Community Council wish you all a very Merry Christmas and let’s hope that your ideas can be implemented such that the village has a great 2022.

Numerous club and events facilities are available at the Langham Community Centre > http://www.langhamcommunitycentre.org.uk/

The Parish Council offers various facilities at the recreation ground. These include:

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Football Pitches

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Space & Support for caravan rallies

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Space for car parking

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Outdoor areas for private parties, Fetes or Day Shows

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A Fine beacon on the Recreation near the Community Centre commemorates the centenary of the Armistice ending the First World War. It may be hired and lit for special events.

 

Children’s Play Area and separate Dog Walking Area

The Recreation Ground has a children’s play area with various rides and attractions. This is a dog free area. The equipment is inspected and maintained on a regular basis.

Adult outdoor exercise equipment

Picnic Area

Open Spaces

The village has several open spaces that are maintained by the Parish Council for the enjoyment of all. These include a Millennium Garden, a War Memorial, an Airfield Monument, Benches, Flower Tubs and Flower beds.

 

 

 

Safety Features

Langham Parish Council has installed a defibrillator and a Village Emergency Telephone system (VETS).

Defibrillator

This is located near to the main entrance to the Community Centre adjacent to the Community Shop.

The defibrillator is registered with the Ambulance service. If a person calls 999 and it is a potential cardiac arrest the Ambulance service may provide information on where the nearest defibrillator is located and the code to get into the cabinet. In the cabinet is a defibrillator, a rescue kit, torch, hi viz jacket and a pocket mask.

The defibrillator is a semi-automatic unit with visual and audio instructions which are easy to follow.

 

Langham Village Emergency Telephone System (VETS)

If you are with a person who you suspect has had a cardiac arrest, immediately call 999 as normal. An ambulance will be dispatched as soon as possible, however due to the location of Langham, this may take a while.

You may well be alone with the patient and cannot leave them to go and get the village defibrillator, so there are a group of volunteers who will respond to a telephone call from you. All the volunteers are on the same number and if a volunteer is available you give them your location, they will collect the defibrillator and come to your location, they will then assist in CPR and using the defibrillator until the ambulance or medics arrive.

The number to call these volunteers is: 01206 700990

Public Transport

The Parish Council represents the village at the Essex Bus User Group which is held quarterly by Essex County Council. This group looks at timetables, sponsored services and viability.

Panther Service 81/81A Colchester to Dedham Timetable

Timetable >

Ipswich Buses 93/93A/94 Service Colchester to Ipswich Timetable

 Timetable >

Ipswich Buses 194 Langham to East Bergholt High School Timetable

Timetable >