Letter from the Chairman of Silsoe Parish Plan Committee.
I joined the Parish Plan committee when it was formed in early 2006 and have been the Chairman since October 2007. It has proved to be an interesting, satisfying and sometimes challenging journey to bring the plan to fruition two years later . I would like to thank our enthusiastic and talented team for all their efforts and hours of unpaid work over this period although I do believe they all consider it time well spent on a worthwhile project.
The plan is the end result of a lengthy process of consultation to establish what villagers consider to be community problems, shortcomings, requirements and aspirations for the future. This involved an initial ‘Planning for Real’ event in April 2006 followed by a very successful Questionnaire with a 73% response and a public consultation earlier this year to review the draft plan . The task of compiling a ten year plan for Silsoe has been made much more difficult because of major social and economic change in the village with Cranfield University vacating the Silsoe campus coincident with the demise of the Agricultural Institute at Wrest Park. The impact of these two events has resulted firstly in the inevitable development of the vacated campus site – it is planned to build approximately 500 houses over a 10 year period which is likely to double the village population .Secondly, Wrest Park and House have been taken over by English Heritage to be restored as a national visitor attraction.
In view of these significant changes the Parish Council together with the Parish Plan Committee have been involved in discussions with Cranfield University and their consultants concerning the need for sport and community facilities as highlighted in the questionnaire, as well as other important elements of the village plan; also a considerable number of meetings have been held with stakeholders and local government departments - these have been major factors in the timescale for compiling the report.
The Parish Plan provides a framework within which the Parish Council and residents can work to improve our village. It also establishes guidelines for the County and District Councils on strategic issues involving traffic and development.
I hope that through the Parish Plan future benefits will be achieved for the whole community - it has been produced with your input and involvement and will need your help to turn it into reality.
Chairman of Silsoe Parish Plan Committee