HANNINGTON PARISH PLAN
REPORT OF A CONSULTATION
A SUMMARY OF THE VIEWS OF RESIDENTS
AND A PARISH PLAN TO ADDRESS AND DEVELOP THE IDEAS
AND CONCERNS IDENTIFIED
HANNINGTON PARISH PLAN STEERING GROUP:
A HISTORY OF HANNINGTON; THE SETTLEMENT 3
THE PEOPLE OF HANNINGTON 7
ISSUES OF HEALTH AND WELL BEING 8
OUR LEISURE AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES 9
THE ENVIRONMENT AND OUR SHARED HERITAGE 10
THE CHARACTER OF HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT 13
RELIGION IN HANNINGTON 14
TRAFFIC IN THE VILLAGE 15
COMMUNICATION WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY 15
LOCAL GOVERNMENT 16
PLAN FOR ACTION; THE PARISH PLAN 18
The Parish Plan Report is based on information from the people of Hannington from the responses during the Parish Plan Consultation Day and through the subsequent Parish Plan Survey obtained in 2008. As a result of these findings we have been able to identify a number of issues that might be addressed to improve the environment in Hannington or activities that, if developed within our community, would seem to have support. The suggestions are set out at the end of the report and those that are supported and adopted will become our Parish Plan. We as a community will be responsible for making it happen.
If we act upon only one of the issues identified, that will be progress. Should we address all the matters raised, we will have taken a great step to becoming a safer, more caring and responsible community.
Sixty-eight questionnaires were completed in the survey. One hundred and forty-five people provided answers in these questionnaires and the views expressed in the survey represented 172 residents in those households; the difference in numbers being made up by children. Not everyone answered all questions. Some were not relevant. For other questions respondents did not have a particular view to express. The questionnaire was not a referendum, and the answers have raised issues or expressed views rather than set a mandate for action.
It is evident that the majority of residents of Hannington have made a conscious decision to live here rather than elsewhere, and that we value our environment. You may be surprised at the degree to which you share a common appreciation of particular aspects of the village experience, which is a feature of living in Hannington, and the extent to which you share interests as well.
The parish extends beyond the village of Hannington and includes outlying homes and farms. We also included all local business premises in the survey, but received a poor response from these. Approximately 70% of households returned the questionnaire.
The initial work on this project has been undertaken by a group of Hannington residents. We have been encouraged and supported by members of the Parish Council. Many of you have expressed an interest or a willingness to become involved in following up discrete activities or actions to benefit our community and over the coming months we intend to provide an opportunity for those who share interests to meet together to take these forward. Our hope is that more of us can be involved in developments in Hannington, but that no one person will feel overwhelmed by taking on unrealistic responsibilities.
Ideally, small autonomous groups will be developed to organise activities which we know other villagers are interested in pursuing. As an example, many expressed an interest in taking part in regular Yoga sessions. There was also interest in doing more to protect the heritage of our community and the village environment.
Some tasks will require action to be taken with other agencies. Many of you raised road safety as an urgent concern, as well as the need to find ways to reduce nuisance noise. These matters will need to be taken forward through the Parish Council, but may well also require support of special interest groups to gather information or to become involved in practical activity.
We have introduced the consultation results with a brief history of our village.
A HISTORY OF HANNINGTON – THE SETTLEMENT
Ancient history and the Parish
The parish of Hannington has been inhabited for a much greater period of time than many people will realise. Evidence exists from the Bronze Age and from the time of the Roman occupation and also later from the Medieval period. Bronze Age worked flints have been found at three different locations in the parish, and there are traces of a Roman settlement just north of the present day village where Roman pottery has been found. This shows that the parish of Hannington is an area with a fascinating past where people have lived and worked for hundreds of years.
Just east of the church, an area of around two hectares shows signs of a medieval settlement which appears to have consisted of enclosures or paddocks, formerly part of the village itself. Hannington was mentioned in the Domesday book, and it is of note that the parish was then much smaller than most settlements in the area as it continues to be today.
The church, once a major part of village life, was built in the late 13th century, though it is noteworthy that it incorporates some stonework from an earlier period. At the time of construction the church was “in the gift” of the Gilbertine Order of Sempringham in Lincolnshire. The Gilbertines probably provided the first priests in exchange for annual “tythes” from the village. The arrangement of the nave with its two central pillars and three arches or arcades, may have been influenced by the plan of Sempringham Priory, started just 100 years previously and incorporating a central wall which separated the cannons (monks) and their accommodation from the nuns and their dormitory and refectory. It has been suggested that a monastic cell existed in Hannington and also that when Archbishop Thomas a Becket fled from the King and the General Council in 1164, accompanied by Gilbertine cannons, he stayed overnight in Hannington. There is no documentary evidence to support either belief. Becket left St. Andrews, Northampton, in the evening and was in Lincoln the following day.
Our church is one of only two in England with a bisected nave; the other is at Caythorpe in Lincolnshire. The latter had a north aisle added in Victorian times, spoiling the symetry. St Peter and St. Paul, Hannington, could therefore be considered to be unique in England. The delicate medieval screen now enclosing the vestry was originally placed across the arch separating the chancel (occupied only by the priest and assistants), from the nave (used by the people). The oak pulpit is of similar age.
In 1562 Thomas Godwin became Rector of Hannington. In the same year he baptised his baby son Francis in our church. The Reverend Thomas left to become Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and eventually Bishop of Bath and Wells. His son Francis became Bishop of Hereford and wrote the first science-fiction novel in the English language, “The Man in the Moone”, a fascinating read with amazing predictions.
By the mid 19th century the church had fallen into a serious “state of disrepair” and was little more than a ruin but thankfully in 1869 the building was restored to its former glory and a new Rectory built alongside it. The person responsible for this was the Rector, John Downes. He personally paid for the restoration and for the building of the Rectory, now called Hannington House. It was John Downe’s wife Lucy who founded the school in Hannington in 1871, and this school building still exists and is used as the Village Hall. A portrait of Lucy Downes hangs in the Village Hall to this day, having been donated by the family in the 1970s.
John Downes is perhaps one of the village’s most notable past residents. A graduate of Cambridge University, he studied botany with Charles Darwin under Professor Henshaw. It is believed that John Downes had been offered the position of botanist on the “Beagle” which he declined, as his vocation was in the Church. He then went on to become a Parish Priest. This role of botanist was then taken on by the very famous Charles Darwin. But John Downes is famous in his own right for his work, and from time to time Hannington receives visitors interested in John Downes’ background. There is a memorial to John Downes, his wife and his daughter in the church; a stained glass window in the east wall.
Clearly the church would have been at the heart of village life in Hannington. However, since 1954 the village has shared a rector with Walgrave and Old, and more recently, Scaldwell. Older villagers can recall when there was a good congregation, a strong choir, and there was also once a choir made up of local boys. At one time there was also a Chapel in the village situated close to West Farm. Now, in common with many village churches, the congregation of the church is modest and the majority of villagers are not involved.
History of the local environment
Hannington was described in the late 19th century in John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales as:
"Hannington, a parish in Brixworth district, Northampton; 4½ miles ESE of Brixworth r. station, and 6 NW by W of Wellingborough. Post town, Walgrave, under Northampton. Acres, 1,270. Real property, £1,884. Pop., 226. Houses, 52. The property is subdivided. The living is a rectory, annexed to the rectory of Walgrave, in the diocese of Peterborough. The church is ancient, has a small tower, and was restored in 1869. Bishop Godwin was rector."
The field shapes around the village as we see them today would not have had the same appearance three hundred years ago. In the early 19th century agriculture was in a state of change all over the country, and it is reflected here by the Act of Parliament which enclosed the fields in the parish and surrounding local countryside in 1802. Historic traces of ridge and furrow from this period can be found in the majority of the fields of modern Hannington, although this cannot always be seen from the ground.
Population and Buildings
Although the architecture of the village and the families inhabiting it have changed enormously over the years, the population had not risen hugely until fairly recently. It reached a peak in 1861. With the exception of the church and the village hall, the buildings with a historical focus were either demolished or have been converted into homes. The Millstone (once a public house), The Old Forge, and The Bakehouse are three examples of this. Surprisingly few of these older dwellings are listed buildings.
The village school closed its doors in 1931 and most children of the parish now attend Walgrave Primary School, going on to Moulton School or other schools in the surrounding towns. However, as one local amenity was lost another was born as the building subsequently became the Village Hall. There was also once a village shop.
YEAR POPULATION DWELLINGS
1801 144 Not known
1831 196 42
1861 226 52
1901 152 37
1931 114 35
1961 117 40
2001 207 82
Increase from previous available year
Decrease from previous available year
The table on the previous page shows fluctuating population statistics, with numbers falling in the early-mid 19th century but soon picking up again over several decades. Today there are 91 homes in the parish with several others soon to be built, and the population continues to show a significant increase.
Employment in the village
Being a rural settlement, the majority of Hannington residents were once agricultural workers, both living and working in the community. Tending to the animals, and of course, farming the land, were jobs which people had been occupied with in and around the village, probably for centuries. The villagers were almost entirely self sufficient, obtaining their meat, eggs, milk, and other supplies from farms in the parish and ensuring that everything available was used in some way, for example liver, fat, and lard were all put to good use. This is a far cry from the way we obtain our food today, from supermarkets, when even home baking has become somewhat of a rarity.
Farming became increasingly mechanised in the early 20th century leading to job losses on the farms and people began to look for jobs outside the village. A shoe factory in Walgrave employed people from several villages in the area, and being only a mile from Hannington this was a convenient place for residents looking for local work. However, car ownership became more common and people now find work in Kettering, Northampton, and beyond.
Out of nine functioning farms in the community last century, only one, Poplars Farm, continues to be actively farmed from within the village. West Farm, Mere Farm and Manor Farm are just some of those that ceased farming in Hannington during recent decades. Many different types of farming occurred here until recently, including dairy, poultry, livestock and arable, The staple crops produced, of wheat and barley, were those we still see produced today in the surrounding area.
It is now very unusual to find someone who both lives and works in a village the size of Hannington. Some people do work from their homes, either part time or full time. The relatively recent addition of business units on Red House Lane does now make both living and working in Hannington a possibility.
Hannington in wartime
During World War II, Hannington had a narrow escape when bombs were dropped on Red House Lane close to the A43. Some older residents remember that glass was blown from the windows of the nearby farmhouse and large craters were left, but luckily the village itself was unscathed.
At this time, land between the nearby villages of Harrington and Lamport was used as an airfield for an American air base. Planes from this airfield, including bombers, flew regularly near our parish. During this time a B17 aircraft crashed at the Walgrave turning on the A43 leaving all of the american crew dead. Remains and fragments of this incident have subsequently been discovered in the area.
Village celebrations and fetes
There were at one time two village events per year in Hannington, held at Poplars Farm and in the Rectory gardens (Hannington House). People would come in fancy dress and it was a time when all villagers could come together, adults and children, to enjoy a shared social event.
May Day was also celebrated by decorating prams or baskets with flowers and parading a “May Queen”. The children would sing and this was followed by tea in the Village Hall.
Barn dances were held at Poplars Farm until fairly recently, and were well attended by residents from the village and the surrounding area.
In 1978, the “Jubilee” was celebrated in the village and a bed of 25 rose bushes was planted to mark the event. This rose bed is still flourishing on Main Street by West Farm Close.
Services and amenities in Hannington
In the past there were two public houses in the parish, the Millstone in the village and The Red House at the edge of the parish on the A43. The Red House was a well used pub not only by residents of Hannington but also by residents of Hardwick and passing motorists. The Red House has undergone several name changes over the last decade and was most recently known as “Henry’s”. It is now sadly derelict.
The Millstone House had a long tradition as a public house in the centre of the village, used by generations of farmers and villagers. It once had a popular skittle room and was the major social amenity in the village until its closure in 1938. Residents of Walgrave also visited the pub. Now a private home, this most attractive building lost its thatch in the 1960s. The stonework reflects various periods of building when the property was extended and there is an old dovecote in the back garden, now in a state of disrepair, that harks back to a much earlier time when this was a way to ensure fresh meat.
The garage on the A43 has been there for many years and was recently rebuilt. Mains water was not available in the village until just after the war and previously it had to be fetched from wells at locations such as The Millstone, the Schoolhouse, or Poplars Farm, where there was a pump. Washing was often done using rainwater. Some properties have wells to this day but they are not used. As for sanitation, earth closets were still in use until the main sewer was installed.
As mentioned previously there was a village shop next door to The Millstone House. A local green grocer also visited the village on Saturdays and provided fish, fruit and vegetables. A butcher from Moulton paid regular visits, too. People certainly did not have to travel out of the village to buy their provisions even if they did not obtain them from the local farms.
The doctor came to the village about three times a week, and if people needed medical attention a note had to be left until the next visit. There was also a district nurse, and like today, doctors were available in the nearby villages of Brixworth and Moulton.
Changes to the appearance of the village
Behind the Jubilee Rose Bed in Main Street, once stood an old stone barn, which was demolished to make way for West Farm Close. Turners Farm, which included a large farmhouse on the corner of School Lane, was demolished earlier. This had been the last thatched house in the village until the modern Turners Farm Close was built and included two thatched buildings. Turners Farm Close, Orchard Close and Tilehouse Lane are all relatively new housing developments.
Many small cottages have been lost on almost every street in the village, or combined to make larger dwellings. A chapel on Main Street is also now gone. This chapel was built in 1865. It was later used by the village undertaker and later converted to a garage and workshop in 1972.
Main Street once curved sharply at the junction of Main Street and Bridle Road and was a very dangerous spot. It has since been straightened out and there is now a small green which was created after diverting the road.
The church clock has not always been in its current position either. It once overlooked the Holcot Road and a small window can now be seen where the clock originally was. The window was fitted with glass after the removal of the clock.
THE PEOPLE OF HANNINGTON
There is a good spread of age groups through the population of Hannington, but residents are more likely to be aged 45 years to 64 years. There appeared to be equal numbers of males and females completing the questionnaires. The ages are shown below in age groupings:
0-4 5-10 11-15 16-17 18-24 25-44 45-59 60-64 65-74 75-84 85+
6 12 14 7 14 27 45 21 18 5 3
A large proportion of those homes in the survey had four bedrooms (62%), and there were none with only one bedroom. The range is shown below:
One bedroom Two bedrooms Three bedrooms Four bedrooms Five bedrooms Six bedrooms
- 3 15 43 6 2
This has also been an opportunity to compare the demographic profile of Hannington with other communities. The property profile of houses in Hannington, when considered in relation to their Community Charge band, indicates that Hannington, when considered in contrast to Daventry District and to England as whole, is quite disproportionate in the lower bands (A & B), where there are significantly fewer properties. In the higher range (bands E, F ,G & H), there are significantly more properties. This suggests a generally more affluent population, occupying more expensive properties. It also suggests that the mix of people within our community may not be typical. The age profile of residents does not reflect the national pattern; there are proportionately more people in the 45 to 64 years group, and comparison with national data also shows a slightly lower level of people over 74 years.
The age of properties suggests that almost 80% were built in the last century; 18%, or 12 houses, were built before 1900. There are other older buildings in the village of course that are not used as homes presently. This survey did not address these. Over half of the houses had been built since 1981. This reflects a gradual development of the village, and coincides with the decline in farming in the village. Five farmyards have been developed for housing when they have ceased to be actively farmed.
The majority of the people had lived in Hannington between five and 25 years. Seven had lived in Hannington their whole life and 19 had lived here 26 to 50 years. Only one person had lived here less than a year. So it appears that the population is fairly stable, with people having moved into the village tending to remain here, as part of the community, for a very considerable time.
“Love of village life” and “love of country life” were the most common reasons that people gave for living in Hannington; these descriptions were given by 81 respondents. For 28 people it was working in the area that influenced their decision, and another 27 happened to find housing here. Less choice was involved for others; 14 were born here and 19 had come with their families when they moved.
Almost half of households comprise two people. Though the average number is 2.7 people; this, like many statistics, does not give a clear picture. The breakdown is shown below:
Number of people occupying houses in Hannington
One person Two people Three people Four people Five people
8 31 11 12 6
There is a significant number of retired people in the village, 24% of those that replied. But the majority are economically active; 57% were in employment, 27% being self-employed. Fifteen people (11%) were in full time education.
For the vast majority of Hannington residents the car is their major means of transport. Only six referred to using the bus and 11 used a bicycle. And it is not surprising therefore that the number of cars regularly used within households for journeys to work or for education was high.
One car Two cars Three cars Four cars Not applicable
13 38 4 2 11
Of those that replied to the questionnaire, 109 regularly used their car for leisure, and almost as many used one regularly for shopping. Some people, however, experienced difficulty with transport, for instance, in getting out of the village. One often found this difficult, and another 27 villagers occasionally experienced some difficulty. Very little use appeared to be made of the community bus, but 19 people regularly used the bus service; six of them on a daily basis.
Issues identified with the bus service, where users would like to see improvements were:
The bus routes
The timetable, ie when services run or stop running
Cost of fares
A few comments related to the unreliability of the service.
ISSUES OF HEALTH AND WELL BEING
The most often used service referred to in respect of health and well-being was the doctor (General Practitioner); 93% of users thought their doctor was good or reasonable. All who had used their practice’s nursing service were positive about it. The home help service had been used by four villagers and all had found this poor. The vast majority of people who had used other services had had a good experience.
Difficulty in accessing health services was apparently not a major issue, but did present difficulties for some. Getting to the Hospital was most often referred to (14 people), and the local doctors slightly less often, but still nine people experienced some difficulty at times in attending their doctor. Five people found difficulty in getting to a pharmacy, and another person referred to problems in collecting medicines prescribed for them. Given the high level of car ownership, there were many people who had no problems with accessing services. But for those people who do not have the convenience of a motorcar, the limitations of public transport and in particular the bus times and routes are a frustration.
With this is in mind, the idea of a good neighbour scheme could help, if it included a volunteer driver scheme; 46% of people felt that there was a need for one and 25 people would be willing to help weekly and another 20 said they would be prepared to help once a month. Of course such a scheme would need co-ordination and probably some financial support, but no doubt guidance is available about setting up this type of venture.
A group of interested people should explore whether it is possible to develop a “good neighbour scheme”.
OUR LEISURE AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
There are few amenities available in Hannington and very few organisations now exist. In the past several organisations have failed through a lack of support, but our community is now larger and of course, if activities were developed, they might draw support from neighbouring villages.
Asked about the use made of the existing facilities, of those that expressed a view 61% thought the Village Hall was good or reasonable and 59% thought this of the Church. However, support for the Pocket Park as it is presently used was less than 10%. This figure reflects a lot of dissatisfaction and would suggest that the nature of the Pocket Park and its use should be reviewed.
The Parish Council should consider how the Pocket Park is being used and maintained and whether changes are needed in light of these results.
When asked whether new clubs and activities would be attended if they were organised, some of the topics and activities suggested received considerable support. The following all had more than 10 people express interest in them; the numbers interested are in brackets:
Yoga (31) Crafts (18)
Rambling Club (29) Creative Arts for Children (16)
Gardening Club (28) University of 3rd Age (16)
Art Club (24) Drama (14)
Women’s Institute (22) Choir (12)
Languages (21) Whist Drive (12)
Business Development (18) Senior Citizen’s Group (12)
Writer’s Group (18) Guides, Scouts etc. (11)
Other subjects mentioned, but with less support, were: mums & tots, Sunday School, music society, drama group for young people, bridge, cookery, dog-training, keep-fit, fitness class, photography, book-club, dance, local history, architecture, archaeology.
As to the time of day any new classes or groups should be held, approximately half favoured an evening. The remainder were more or less evenly in favour of mornings, afternoons or week-ends.
There was an encouraging response from villagers willing to help organise and run a club or group. There was at least one person for each idea put forward, but there was a particularly good level of enthusiasm for: a Gardening Club, a Rambling Group, an Art Group, a Writers’ Group, a Senior Citizens’ Group and a Women’s Institute. We already have a Walking Group in Hannington, although it may need more publicity and would benefit from more people willing to lead an occasional walk. It appears that there are real opportunities to develop other activity groups, and this is one clear challenge and opportunity to emerge following the consultation.
An opportunity should be created for people living in the village to explore their shared interests in setting up activity groups.
There is no play area for children in the village; asked whether Hannington should have a play area, 74% of those who replied were in favour. The provision of a playground has been explored in the past, and it would involve identifying land in a suitable location, and also providing and maintaining play equipment. It would be costly both initially in setting up, and in ensuring that there was regular supervision and maintenance to keep the facility safe.
The Parish Council should consider whether it is both possible and appropriate to provide a children’s’ play area in the village.
THE ENVIRONMENT AND OUR SHARED HERITAGE
When we referred to Hannington’s heritage, almost everyone replied that they thought more should be done to conserve and protect it. And given the high number of people who expressed a love of the countryside and indicated this was contributory to their choice of Hannington as a home, it is not surprising that the quality of the countryside around Hannington was important to virtually everyone. It was clear too, that the appearance of the village was important.
Almost unanimously it was agreed that it was the tranquillity associated with living in Hannington that people valued. Most, also appreciated the openness around the village, and approximately half said they valued the local identity and “sense of place” associated with living in the village. The ability to access countryside easily from the village was mentioned, and also the closeness of Pitsford Reservoir was appreciated. A very high number of respondents said that the presence of birds, wild animals, and wild flowers around Hannington were important to them.
Protecting the environment
Asked what aspects of our local landscape needed to be protected, there was a significant response, which indicated the sort of features that are particularly valued. The features people felt needed protection included:
Groups of trees 95) Streams (76)
Hedges (91) Ponds (70)
Open spaces (82) Banks (57)
Walls (76) Ditches (57)
Comments were also made in the survey responses that reflected particular concerns for the environment, often shared by a number of people:
Need to preserve and protect the environment (10)
Need to maintain and encourage wildlife habitats (5)
Need to protect vistas /rural landscape (4)
Clear and maintain ditches (4)
Ensure access to the countryside (3)
Flora and Fauna need protection (3)
Ensure stone walls are maintained and protected (2)
Keep village small and quiet (2)
Maintenance of hedges, ensuring shape (2)
No more Buildings (2)
Protect the “Fishponds” at Wakelins Field (2)
Better maintenance of verges needed
Need to protect bridleways
Use preservation orders to maintain countryside
Protect the “village green”
Protect the trees on Holcot Road
There was much support, and little opposition expressed for looking after woodlands and to preserving single trees in special places. Many felt that hedges should be kept short and tidy, though not all agreed. Similarly, many felt that more trees should be planted, but others were opposed to this. There was support for planting new orchards and for preserving the old ones where these existed. Many felt the environment would be improved by planting more flowers.
An indication of how important the local environment is to people in Hannington, is the number of villagers who say they are prepared to help in protecting aspects of the environment. In particular they would be willing to help with the following tasks:
Protecting wildlife habitats (47) Surveying trees (19)
Clearing Ponds (22) Helping in the Pocket Park (16)
Maintaining footpaths (21)
Interested people should meet to explore the possibility of setting up a Wildlife Conservation Group
Things that are experienced as a Nuisance
Amongst those factors that affect the life of villagers, noise emerged as a major concern. The noise of low flying aircraft was identified as the most common annoyance (101 people objected). Traffic noise and sound of motorcycle scrambling were mentioned too, but by fewer people (26 and 21 respectively). And noise pollution for some included dogs barking, and loud music played by neighbours at times.
Interested people should consider setting up an action group and seek advice about monitoring noise levels of aircraft and motorcycles and taking appropriate action.
Things that would improve the environment
Initiatives that would help to protect and enhance the local environment included frequent references to reducing the impact of traffic which was seen by many to be detrimental to the quality of village life. It is significant that whereas 74% of those answering said that they felt safe in the village, most of those who did not feel safe were concerned about the danger posed by traffic, particularly where there were no pavements or footpaths, and 45 respondents expressed the view that more footpaths were needed in the village. Traffic and the request for traffic calming measures are considered later.
The Parish Council should explore the possibility of improving the provision made for the safety of pedestrians; to include a review of the adequacy of footpaths.
The number of new houses being built was also raised in relation to its effect upon the environment, and this too is addressed separately, later in this report.
Other suggestions for improvements included: illuminating the Church, adopting a conservation scheme to protect important and distinctive features, resisting change to the village, sympathetic maintenance of the existing environment, addressing the problem of motorcycles. Several comments referred to litter in the village and surrounding area.
More environmentally friendly street lighting had support from 45 respondents. Others felt that there should be increased street lighting in the village.
Another observation was that the village needed more people. This comment, although isolated, none the less touches upon an important issue: the desired size of the village community. This too will be addressed when considering the need for a Village Design Statement.
Footpaths and rights of way
The questionnaire explored issues related to using local footpaths and rights of way. The most commonly found difficulties were bushes and nettles obstructing footpaths, crops growing across a footpath where the pathway had not been reinstated, and mud and water encountered.
The height of styles was an issue for some people and it was pointed out that some styles are in need of repair. The repair of gates and styles was something that a significant number of people referred to in the questionnaire (81). Also related to footpaths, some landowners have challenged or obstructed people using footpaths on their land. Dogs featured too in the comments. Access for dogs is poor in the view of some and others commented on dog mess left on footpaths. There were four comments about a dog that intimidates walkers in one particular field, and some felt that this dog was a danger, particularly to children, and, because of this, was in effect, barring access to the footpath.
The questions of roads, footpaths and rights of way were also considered from the aspect of what might be done in respect of these to make the countryside around Hannington more attractive. Again litter was referred to; this time it was an overwhelming observation, as people wanted litter removed from hedgerows and elsewhere in the village where it was identified as being a nuisance. Further, the state of verges was a significant concern. It was felt that these should be kept mown and tidy, and that the damage caused to verges by vehicles should be prevented. Another issue raised, was to ensure that all footpaths and bridleways should be clearly signposted. There was reference in particular to the paths south of the Holcot Road.
Public land in Hannington
Hannington has three plots of publicly owned land: the village allotments in Red house Lane, the Pocket Park and land in the Walgrave Road next to Mallard Barn. The allotment area and the Pocket park are used to some extent, but the land in the Walgrave Road is not used at all at present.
The survey sought views about the use of these plots; 33 people thought that the allotments should be left as they are. Some of these people also expressed the view that the allotments should be reserved for residents of Hannington; some allotments are currently used by people from outside the village, though there is no evident unmet demand for an allotment at present.
Of those comments made about the Pocket Park, 13 people felt that it should be left as it is; two felt that it could be developed into a play area; and three felt it was not needed and was not maintained sufficiently well.
There was a comment that benches should be provided in the village, possibly on the public land. There are already some seats provided in the Pocket Park, but these may not be convenient, accessible or appealing for many people as they are in fairly secluded and remote positions.
There were a variety of suggestions for the land off the Walgrave Road. Two people suggested that an orchard could be planted, and another that the land should be cultivated as a wild-life meadow. Yet another suggested that this land could be developed as additional allotments. One comment was that it could be used for affordable housing, but this has been explored already by the Parish Council, and the land was considered unsuitable.
There was little support for the development of businesses in Hannington; approximately a third of people with an opinion about this felt that small businesses might be desirable, but not small-scale industrial workshops. The majority took the view that such development should not be encouraged. And there was even less support for development based upon tourism (20%), although if activities were to be encouraged, it was felt that these should be leisure based; e.g. walking, nature study, horse riding, fishing and painting.
The few suggestions for what might be suitable business activities were to encourage a shop and a public house to be set up, to return to a form of “proper farming”, and to have talks and workshops in the Village Hall. There was also a suggestion of linking with other villages to create a cycle-route.
THE CHARACTER OF HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT
Approximately 75% of those who answered were satisfied with the appearance of new building in Hannington. Some people made comments about a small number of recent developments that they considered were not in keeping with the size of the community and the rural nature of the village. They thought these were out of keeping with the character of the village, both in dimension and design.
Inevitably, the issue of housing development saw a divided view of what was desirable for the village. Whilst 30 thought there was too much new housing, 13 thought there was too little. Thirty-six thought that new houses had been too expensive. Perhaps more significant however was that 57 people, the majority response, thought that the number of houses built in the last 10 years was about right for the village.
When asked what sort of development was needed in future, the majority response was that small family homes and houses for single people were needed. There were only three references to the need for affordable housing, an aspect that was recently explored by the Parish Council, but it may be assumed that smaller properties were regarded as “affordable”. A significant number of people, approximately a third of those responding, thought that no further homes were appropriate in Hannington. This view was reinforced by the answer to the question: “can Hannington accommodate much more new housing?” In the view of 70% of respondents, more housing cannot be accommodated in the village, and some of those who felt it could were concerned that there should not be too much more.
It was not just the number of possible new houses that interested people, but also the appearance of further developments. Comments suggested that a more traditional appearance is important and this should be encouraged; the use of stone helps in this respect. There was reference to perceived shortcomings in the planning process and its failure to preserve the character of the village.
Overall the wish, strongly expressed, was to retain the present character of housing in the village. One way in which this can be influenced is to have a Village Design Statement (VDS) that if developed and adopted, would have the status of a local planning policy and would therefore influence the nature of future development. There were 118 people who expressed a view on this and 87% felt that a VDS should be developed. Further, 33 people said that they would be willing to be involved in preparing one.
The Parish Council should encourage a group of interested residents to take forward the drafting and approval of a Village Design Statement.
RELIGION IN HANNINGTON
Although in the past there had been both a Church and a Chapel in Hannington, for many years now there has only been one place of worship; the Church. It is part of the Diocese of Peterborough and is used regularly for religious services. A minority of people responded to questions about church and their religious practice. Nine people indicated that they attended church outside of the village as their particular religion (or denomination) is not catered for, and others found it more convenient to go to church elsewhere. And asked if they might attend a different form of service in Hannington’s church (Anglican), 87% indicated that they would not; though the 13% who indicated that they might, is a significant number, given the present size of congregations.
There was an indication that there could be potential for the Church building to be used as a venue for events other than religious services; in particular concerts, choral events and art.
The need to address the problem of litter was referred to by many of those responding; 103 thought that it was important to clear litter in and around Hannington. This was the single most cited factor which spoilt the attractiveness of the village.
The areas where litter was identified as an eyesore were on the roads approaching the village; often in the hedgerows. The footpath, off Main Street, was also referred to, and throughout the village there were other places where people thought litter was a problem.
One aspect of the “litter” problem that offended people was dog fouling, and the provision of bins for dog mess was the most supported suggestion for addressing litter in the village.
There was also considerable support for a “Spring Clean” initiative. Most people thought this should be organised twice a year rather than just once. Some respondents (20) thought we should enter the best kept village competition and 15 were in favour of putting up notices about not leaving litter.
It appears that there would be support for action to clear litter in, and around, the village. Though it is also evident that the litter in the hedgerows may come from motorists and others entering and passing through the village.
The Parish Council should explore the provision of bins for dog mess and encourage a Spring Clean initiative
TRAFFIC IN THE VILLAGE
The danger from traffic was one of the most urgent matters to be raised in the questionnaire. Asked about whether there were danger spots on the roads in Hannington, 105 people said there were. Part of the danger related to the risk to pedestrians in the absence of any pavements or proper footpaths at narrow places in the roadway. Other concerns were for the poor sightlines at junctions and the speed of traffic through the village, particularly when entering the village without slowing down sufficiently. Further out from the village, there was concern about the junction of Redhouse Lane with the A43.
The following locations were all described as major danger spots; the number of people expressing concern is indicated.
Road by the Church where it is narrow (27)
Junction by the Church (26)
Redhouse Lane where it is narrow and has no footpath (26)
Redhouse Lane as far as allotments (1)
Junction with A43 (10)
By the Pocket Park, at entrance to village (5)
Corner of School Lane (4)
Entrance to Orchard Close (3)
Walgrave Road entrance to village; no footpath (2)
Reference to all entrances to the village (2)
There were also a number of comments about the 30mph signs that were generally felt to be too far into the village resulting in vehicles not slowing soon enough. Some of the signs are also obscured by hedgerows. There was one suggestion that a “caution” sign was needed by the Church, as it was so dangerous. Some 60% of those that answered considered that there was a specific danger from speeding in the village, not just traffic in general.
The questionnaire asked about measures to control traffic speed in the village. There was significant support for extending the speed limit further out of the village, and also for traffic calming measures. There was also support for more signs, which included “children at play” signs. The question of whether electronic speed identification signs, and the introduction of a 20mph limit also arose.
The Parish Council should undertake a review of traffic and its impact on Hannington and promote appropriate measures to reduce any significant hazards that are identified.
COMMUNICATION WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY
At the time of the survey there were two main ways of getting information about what is happening in the village: the Parish Council Bulletin and the Village Notice Board. The Bulletin is where most people get information about events in Hannington (80%), though approximately 50% also get information about events from the Village Notice Board. Of the villagers who responded to the questionnaire, 84% thought that the amount of information that was available was reasonable or good.
There were 103 people who were in favour of collaborating with other local villages to develop amenities and social resources and many of these thought that sharing information about activities would be welcome and would wish to encourage this.
One suggestion received, was that there should be a joint website, joining with other villages to provide a Newsletter reflecting what was going on locally. Since the survey, the Parish Council have in fact developed a website for Hannington, and this will be available to those villagers who use the internet. There may be potential to extend this facility and to develop links with other neighbouring villages.
The Parish Council should explore the potential for collaboration with, or at least sharing information with, neighbouring villages
One of the issues raised during the consultation, was about the way Neighbourhood Watch operates. It was felt that the communication systems were not working effectively. One of the very positive features of life in Hannington is that for most of the time it is relatively crime free. In that context we may have become complacent. A recent spate of break-ins had been a reminder that as a community we can work together to look out for one another. And crucial in this is to have both formal and informal systems for communicating with one another. The Parish Council is again taking a lead role in this, but this also needs the involvement of us all. Good communication will be a feature of this.
There are three tiers of local government that influence Hannington. The County Council has a strategic responsibility and is responsible for the infrastructure, planning, maintaining roads, influencing public transport and policing, and providing education. Daventry District Council also has a strategic role, controls development within the parish and provides refuse services. Hannington Parish Council has a more local role and is expected to provide a local perspective on planning matters and to liase with both the County Council and the District Council and Police Authority to ensure that villagers’ interests are reflected in the services for the community.
The community is represented at all three levels by elected councillors. The Parish Council meets monthly and villagers are able to attend these meetings, and to speak by prior arrangement; 49 people (37%) indicated that they had attended a meeting of the council. In addition to the regular meetings there is an Annual Meeting and 45 people (34%) had attended one of these, 23 in the last year.
Generally it was felt that the District and Parish Councils publicised their decisions and activities fairly well. In Hannington this is done principally through the Bulletin which the Parish Council publish following each meeting and will become more sophisticated and comprehensive in the future when the electronic information system is used. At present, over 60% said that information about planning applications that are being considered was not well enough publicised and there will be an opportunity to address this in the new system.
When it came to knowing how money was spent by the councils, about half did not know how it was spent. Over 80% of those people who said they knew were satisfied with services, but amongst those who did not feel satisfied it was the services provided by the County Council that they were unhappy with.
There was praise from some people for the District Council in its approach to recycling.
Asked for views about how aware they thought the local councillors were of local concerns and feelings, the response varied in relation to the respective bodies. Whereas it was felt by 26% that county councillors were aware of local issues, this figure increased for the district councillors to 35%. For parish councillors, 75% of those who responded felt that councillors, at the local level, were aware of issues.
Although Hannington is a relatively small community, the response to this Parish Plan consultation and the comments that have been made, indicate that as villagers we care about our community and our shared environment. It is also clear that although not resistant to change, the majority of people want to retain the village’s character as it is. We value the appearance of buildings, the mix of housing and in particular the peaceful, tranquil nature of the village. We have emphasised how important it is to us to have easy access to the countryside where we are able to appreciate birds, animals, flowers, hedgerows, and trees.
It is these things that make our village distinctive.
We are fortunate that Hannington is positioned well in terms of access to other towns and amenities, although this necessitates access to transport for virtually all activities, and for some this does present difficulties, particularly when they are unwell or impaired. And because of the small size of our population, some social activities are restricted. But it seems that this might be addressed by closer collaboration and sharing of information and activities with neighbouring villages.
The major areas where change has been seen as desirable are in looking after our environment, protecting our heritage, and in providing opportunities for more social activities. This cannot happen overnight and will require action and commitment from volunteers. It will, however, provide opportunities for people to share their interests with others and to take a pride in what can be achieved.
Traffic in the village is also a major concern. It is seen as the greatest threat we face, and villagers feel at risk from the speed of vehicles travelling through the village. This is exacerbated by the absence of pavements at critical locations of the roadway, and from what is seen as inadequate speed restrictions. This leaves pedestrians vulnerable and is a particular hazard for those who are infirm or for young children.
Some of the tasks that have been identified will require leadership, and we are fortunate that there is such confidence in our Parish Council who will take some things forward.
If we achieve any of the challenges we have identified, our community life will be enriched and better for it. If, over time, we address all the issues, we will have the satisfaction of knowing we live in a village where we care for our surroundings and for one another and can justifiably be proud of Hannington, not just as a pretty village, but as a vibrant community.
What happens next depends upon all of us, and there will be opportunities for people to become involved in setting up groups, or to attend and support activity groups as they develop. There will be opportunities, too, to influence a Village Design Statement which, when approved, carries weight in relation to planning decisions. Our involvement in these activities will shape the character of our village as a community. It will also ensure that we can preserve our environment and heritage. Change is inevitable, but we are in a position, if we chose, to influence the way our community develops.
PLAN FOR ACTION – THE PARISH PLAN
The following actions are suggested to address the issues identified during the consultation process. It will now be for residents of Hannington to decide whether they are taken forward. There will be an opportunity to discuss these suggestions at a public meeting in due course.
In no particular order:
• A group of interested people should explore whether it is possible to develop a “good neighbour scheme”
• The Parish Council should consider how the Pocket Park is being used and maintained and whether changes are needed in light of these results.
• An opportunity should be created for people living in the village to explore their shared interest in setting up activity groups.
• The Parish Council should consider whether it is both possible and appropriate to provide a children’s play area in the village.
• Interested people should meet to explore the possibility to setting up a Wildlife Conservation Group.
• Interested people should consider setting up an action group, and seek advice about monitoring noise levels of aircraft and motorcycles and taking appropriate action.
• The Parish Council should explore the possibility of improving the provision made for the safety of pedestrians; to include a review of the adequacy of footpaths.
• The Parish Council should encourage a group of interested residents to take forward the drafting and approval of a Village Design Statement.
• The Parish Council should explore the provision of bins for dog mess and encourage a Spring Clean initiative.
• The Parish Council should undertake a review of traffic and its impact upon Hannington and promote appropriate measures to reduce any significant hazards that are identified.
• The Parish Council should explore the potential for collaboration with, or at least sharing information with, neighbouring villages.