CDC Open Spaces Strategy

Paul Nanji, Principal Officer of CDC’s Community & Leisure Department, recently sent PVA the link for the refreshed Chiltern Open Space and Recreation Strategy 2015-2018.  You can read how Prestwood fares at http://www.chiltern.gov.uk/openspace.

The Strategy states “Prestwood village has a significant shortfall in youth facility provision, equipped play areas and sports playing fields.  Currently the youth club operates from a prefabricated building  [The Prestwood Youth & Community Centre on Prestwood Common] that is coming to the end of its usable life; there is a youth shelter and kick-about wall, but very limited facilities catering for this age group.”

Appendix 4 of the document is particularly robust, highlighting “limited provision, but insufficent to meet local needs for Youth Facilities, Equipped Play areas, Village Halls/Community Centres, Playing fields and pavillions.”    Only the allotment provision is deemed good. 

Paul thanks everyone for their support in helping inform the strategy which was heavily dependent on the high quality and diverse range of information provided by local community organisations. He hopes the document will help support our village in any future applications submitted for funding by demonstrating shortfalls in recreational facilities and open space provision within the Prestwood area. He will be updating  the strategy on an annual basis, but please do not hesitate to contact him should you require any further information on 01494 732110  Mob: 07711040759.

The Source HP16 and PVA are inviting you to comment on how to move forward in order to improve community facilities in Prestwood – leave your replies below.

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11 thoughts on “CDC Open Spaces Strategy”

  1. I am surprised that there is talk of a need for more youth facilities in Prestwood.
    We have a brilliant dance school and a very go-ahead gymnastics club in the village as well as a cub and scout group and brownies and guides too. There are three playing fields for football and cricket and a proper sports centre. There is one childrens’ play area with various items to climb or ride on and there is perhaps a need for another somewhere. There is a “sports wall” on the Common which has been abused ever since it was first built. There is a youth hut for the youth club which is newer and in better condition than either the scout or guide huts. I think that the youngsters have enough at the moment and that other age groups should perhaps receive the benefit of any monies that are available from Chiltern DC.

  2. My view is that community provision/facilities are not good enough and something needs to be done to improve the situation. This should not just be about youth facilities, but improving areas like the Common for all age groups.

    The clubs in Prestwood are well run and there are a few; however, this should be expected from a village of this size (one of the biggest in the country!).

    The facilities on the Common need upgrading and/or expanding to cater for the community. The Common does not have decent lighting, paths, car park (soon to be fixed) and is underused for the space available.

    Why would we not want a community centre on the Common? Why can’t we work together to improve facilities within Prestwood?

    The Sports Centre is not available to all because not everyone can afford gym membership and use their facilities.

    I would be interested to know what else money from the Chiltern DC would be spent on if not community provision.

    Maybe improved parking in the village centre should be another area for development.

    Lance, out of interest, what would you suggest the Chiltern DC spend money on?

    Regards,

    Mike.

  3. Prestwood’s biggest problem is that it is a fully built up island of development within the sea of Green Belt that surrounds it. There is little space for built-developments within the built-up area. Even so there is pressure to increase the number of households within the village. With every new household there is a need for more community facilities, whether it be schooling, medical or social.

    With no space for such facilities we need to accept that people will travel outside of the area for these, or we need to take a new look at what we, as a village, want for our community. For example when Bucks County wanted to build a small children’s centre on the PJS school field there was uproar against it. Luckily the church allowed the church hall to be used as such, but in so doing reduced the facilities available to the village for other activities.

    With regard to Lance’s comment the gym club uses the largest hall in the village, and this is regarded as much too small by British Gymnastics and Sports England. Even so it has over 220 children who attend weekly, and has over 300 on its waiting list. Most of these children are local, the rest living within 4 miles, and many on the waiting list will have to wait over 3 years before they can join the club.

    They have been looking for suitable premises for years, but there is no chance of such a hall within the village built-up area. Therefore they are about to submit plans to build a gymnastics hall on the Sprinters site, which if approved, and because it is within the Green Belt there is no guarantee it will be, will be able to be used for other activities during the day. This will also free-up the school hall for hire for other community activities outside of school hours.

    The Club, which is a registered charity, accepts it will need to find funding for such a facility itself, and does not expect to receive funds from CDC.

  4. My wife and I couldn’t wait that long for our son to join a gym, so we went elsewhere and now travel 20 minutes to a one on the other side of Aylesbury. I would fully support a requirement for a Prestwood-based gym and provision for this, among other things, is exactly what is needed.
    Is this an extension to Sprinters?

  5. Mike,
    Roger is right in his contribution to this subject. Prestwood has never had a proper development plan and consequently most suitable areas have now been covered with houses. I certainly don’t think that a large community building on the Common would help as some seem to want.
    If CDC have to spend money why can’t they hold a proper and comprehensive survey to take into account all of the residents needs rather than each organisation trying to seek and and resolve their problems separately?
    Maybe an adequate facility could then be built on the old Brickfields on Honor End Lane (the only obvious spare piece of ground) that could satisfy all of our needs. I don’t think a huge new building on the Common with sufficient car parking etc. would be suitable at all. The Common has been a common for many years and the very definition of a common is “open land” therefore least it is developed, the better.
    Can one really expect a village to provide the same facilities as a town?

  6. Lance’s comment about a large building on the common rings true. The common should be an open space. Building any extra community building would inevitably mean that the number of football pitches would have to be reduced, which is one thing the Colts football club would not want – it would mean more children would not be able to partake of healthy sports activity. There is a definite case for updating the existing buildings, improving the hard standing and better lighting to make the common more user friendly at night.

    With regard to the brickfield site I agree. In fact I would go further and say look at the way an old farm has been converted to a community resource in Wokingham. In that borough the Pinewood Leisure Centre consists of several self contained buildings for different activities, and all contained in a county-park like environment.

    Mike – the building will be stand alone. Hopefully the plans will be available to view at the PVA AGM to be held next month.

  7. I think the issue here is not only young people but the provision of facilities where the community can develop in many different and positive ways. I applaud the organised youth works that have struggled with existing halls at enormous cost to their leaders and their membership (particularly Abbey Gym and Chiltern Aademy – who both recognise that they NEED better facilities). Even at the time of the housing development in Prestwood there was a recognition that extra infrastructure was needed for the increase in population – and Prestwood has not shrunk in size, but continues to grow, slowly in terms of population at the moment although that may not be the case forever. Meanwhile, the provision of infrastructure has been negligible – for children (we are 70 preschool places short in September), for entertainment (the largest hall in the village can only seat 110 out of the 7-8000 population), for families (one small play area that has no toilet facilities and practically no parking, and no actual designated parks in which to play) – I could go on to the lack of safety on the roads outside our schools, the lack of cycle paths, the poor upkeep of hedges, the lack of public transport (particularly for the elderly and disabled). The facilities need to be close to where the population actually lives, otherwise they will only be useful to a few. It is time that the local community started to consider how we can make this a brilliant place to live and stay for those other than ourselves.

  8. Colin’s comment are spot on. The community must decide what it wants for Prestwood and advise our local authority accordingly. Too long we have had to do without facilities that a population of our size really requires.
    Lance is probably correct that it would be wrong to build a big new facility on the common however, and I am not at all convinced that the Sports Centre site would be suitable either.
    Who is going to speak up for the community though, I wonder? I cannot help thinking that too many of us are happy with the status quo.

  9. Patrick,

    I will speak up for this community. This is deifinitely about much more than the Prestwood Common or the Sports Centre or even a community building. It must be about delivering something for this amazing community:

    -Improved ‘free’ sports facilities for all ages.
    -New improved community facilities for all ages.
    -Clubs which have a place to hold their monthly meeting without changing the location each time.
    -More efficient use of the area surrounding the Village centre for parking to encourage more trade.
    -Better use of existing facilities/space.
    -Improved awareness of what is happening around this area. For example – Big Lunch on 7th June in Prestwood, Prestival on 6th June in Great Missenden, ArtFest in support of the Holy Trinity in Amersham 13th – 26th June, Prestwood Village Association AGM on 21st April, Colts Presentation Weekend 19th-21st June, potential Prestwood Campus Open Day for the first time in many years. These are but a few examples.

    This is a beautiful place to live with some amazing people working hard.

    This Inititiative is about much more than youth provision, but is designed to deliver something for everyone to help this village fulfil its potential.

    I for one would like to help lead that change. Anyone willing to join me?

  10. Something to consider:

    The Localism Act allows local communities to shape new development by coming together to prepare neighbourhood plans.

    Neighbourhood planning can be taken forward by two types of body – town and parish councils or ‘neighbourhood forums’. Neighbourhood forums are community groups that are designated to take forward neighbourhood planning in areas without parishes. It is the role of the local planning authority to agree who should be the neighbourhood forum for the neighbourhood area.

    Neighbourhood forums and parish councils can use new neighbourhood planning powers to establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in that neighbourhood.

    Communities can use neighbourhood planning to permit the development they want to see – in full or in outline – without the need for planning applications.

    Neighbourhood development plans or orders do not take effect unless there is a majority of support in a referendum of the neighbourhood.

    Full details: https://www.planningportal.gov.uk/inyourarea/neighbourhood

  11. Roger,

    Many thanks for this useful information. This may prove to be a critical enabler to any future development within the Prestwood Community.

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