CymraegArea Development Plan

 

 

Edition No 3                                                                           18 March 2008

 

CONTENTS

 

Introduction

Background

Purpose of this Plan

Vision

Working with Others

Development Categories

Community Life and Social Interaction

Health and Well-being

Employment and the Economy

Housing

Transport

Community Space

Traffic

Heritage, Tourism and the Environment

 

Appendices

1) Recent Events Organised by the Community of Llanychaer

2) Village Enhancement plan

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Llanychaer, lying two miles upstream of Fishguard on the River Gwaun and adjacent to the Pembrokeshire National Park, is a wonderful example of a small, scattered community achieving a great deal against considerable odds. Many similar villages risk losing their identity as more houses become second or holiday homes, and young folk move elsewhere. The village possesses no shop or meeting place and its scattered community numbers less than 100 people.

However there is a strong sense of community spirit and the development of this Area Development Plan by local people demonstrates their belief in the importance of this spirit and their commitment to sustain it in future. The Plan outlines issues and concerns raised by local people along with some suggestions and proposals that would address these issues. The overall objective is to strengthen the community and to provide an ongoing forum for the discussion of ideas that would benefit Llanychaer and its inhabitants economically, environmentally and emotionally.

The Plan is intended to be a ‘living document.’ This means that over time it will develop and evolve in response to the needs of the community, promoting awareness of what is good and identifying the areas where change may be necessary. This first edition of the plan has been drafted by a small sub-group on behalf of the Llais Llanychaer forum and then circulated for wide review and acceptance. The sub-group will incorporate amendments and new ideas into the document as appropriate and it is important to stress that all the current (and future) issues and ideas contained in the plan are the product of much debate amongst the residents of the village

 

BACKGROUND

In a world which centralises communities around economic and logistical hubs; where technology creates as many problems as it solves, and where the natural world is increasingly taken for granted … it seems that vibrant rural communities have much to offer, not just by way of relaxation for the weary town-dweller but also as a place where a way of life and a regard for people can both inspire and contribute to the health of society as a whole.  These are rather grand statements for a small village like Llanychaer and, although we don’t intend to change the world, we are most certainly intent on sustaining an atmosphere here which we feel is special, which matters to us all, and which positively impacts on residents and visitors alike. 

Community spirit is therefore important although it has waxed and waned over the years: encouraged by the activities of individuals and by seasonal farming activities, but then retreating as technology and economic cycles have taken their toll on rural ways of life. Rather than feel helpless in the face of ‘progress,’ and with a strong desire to keep community spirit alive, the community embarked on a process of informal discussions in February 2001. The aim was to bring people together to develop projects that would benefit the village using Objective 1 funding.

The subsequent foot and mouth outbreak delayed progress but the interest remained alive and this put the village in a good position to be selected in 2002 as a partner in the Pembrokeshire SHARP Project, a community research programme aimed at promoting healthy living. The majority of Llanychaer residents willingly undertook to be interviewed in order to express the concerns they had for themselves, the village, and its way of life. This process highlighted the issues about which most people were concerned (and also eventually influenced what should be the key action themes of our Development Plan.) The interviews distinguished between what people regarded as ‘important to them in their community’, and what people regarded as ‘problems for them in the community.’ Items marked ‘important’ were not necessarily a problem, but clearly attention needs to be focused in these areas to prevent them from becoming problems through lack of attention. Items given a high ‘problem’ rating are clearly issues needing to be address by this Development Plan.

Being encouraged by the success of the SHARP consultations, and those that preceded it, we created a community forum, called Llais Llanychaer, to be the vehicle for bringing ideas and projects to fruition. The forum, which had its inaugural meeting on 29 May 2003, is open to all residents of Llanychaer and to others for whom the village provides a focus, connection, or point of interest.  “Llais Llanychaer” … meaning ‘the voice of the Llanychaer community’ … has these aims:

to build and sustain community spirit and its sense of well-being, and

to provide the vehicle whereby funds and other resources can be acquired to develop projects and events in line with the goal above

All residents were invited to the inaugural meeting and a high percentage of the community attended. This resulted from a concerted effort to canvass interest. We also gleaned the thoughts and views of those who were either unable to attend or who were meeting-shy. Subsequent events have shown that the ‘need to get together and do things as a community’ is a strong one and that Llais Llanychaer is proving to be an excellent vehicle both for making this happen and for sustaining progress. Since its formation in 2003 we have held approximately 22 events and 22 forum meetings. A list of events held is shown in Appendix 1. They have been hugely successful events both in terms of attendance and, where appropriate, in demonstrating our ability to generate income.

Note: in the centre of the village is a green space which, many decades ago, was acquired by the Council in preparation for a road-widening scheme. This has not come to fruition and the space now serves a variety of purposes as a ‘village green.’ This is not its formal status but, for convenience, the space is referred to in this document as ‘the Green’ or the ‘village green.’

 

PURPOSE

The purpose of this action plan is

to set out a direction and framework to help Llais Llanychaer make tangible and purposeful progress in sustaining the spirit of the community and its sense of well-being

to provide a credible and strategic basis to support applications for grants to fund future development projects

to help sustain the momentum created by the SHARP project and maintain visibility with, and the commitment of, the project’s sponsors

 

VISION

Our vision is that we see ourselves as a purposeful, healthy, caring community which is at ease with itself and which is able to sustain its spirit and its confidence in the future.

It will be well balanced, pro-active and, irrespective of size, will make the best of local opportunities to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all inhabitants. The atmosphere will be one of  ‘neighbourliness’ with an absence of ‘us and them.’ Residents will represent a range of ages, backgrounds and occupations, and thus provide a rich social mix as well as complementary resources and skills.

The village will retain its identity and not become a passive satellite of neighbouring communities receiving more development-attention. A well-supported Llais Llanychaer forum will serve as Llanychaer’s main means of discussing, planning and implementing actions to build and sustain the spirit of the community and its sense of well-being.

 

 

WORKING WITH OTHERS

Our philosophy is to work closely with other organisations and local and national bodies to pursue our aims. We can communicate needs, priorities and insights to them as they work to meet their responsibilities. It also enables Llais Llanychaer to access the resources required over and above what is available in the village community. Llais Llanychaer does not seek to usurp the responsibilities of any of these bodies or individuals. Our aim is to work with them and to complement what they can do to further and protect the interests of the village. Our hope is that local, county and national authorities are supportive of, and sympathetic to, the goals of Llais Llanychaer and this plan, and demonstrate this commitment by their decisions and actions.

To date, the bodies with whom we have worked include the WDA; Pembrokeshire Coast National Park; Pembrokeshire County Council; the SHARP project; Keep Wales Tidy Campaign; Healthy-Cooking and First-Aid training providers; Glandwr Baptist Chapel; Cwm Gwaun Community Council; Calor Welsh Village of the Year inspectors; Welsh Assembly member and local businesses.

 

DEVELOPMENT CATEGORIES

Community Life and Social Interaction

Relevance to the Community

Data from the SHARP project confirmed that ‘families, neighbourliness, sociable interaction and a happy community’ were the top priorities for local people, contributing significantly to personal health and the well-being of the community. Village consultations also identified that the following were inhibiting factors: lack of a neutral meeting place; the ‘staggered’ nature of village and its geography, and outdoor events are weather dependant

Llanychaer celebrates the fact that it is a bilingual community and, within practical boundaries, Llais Llanychaer aims to use the Welsh and English languages during its activities.

Progress so far

More than forty very well attended village events in recent years testify to their success as a means of bringing people together. Appendix 1 lists the range of activities. These occasions demonstrate that we have wide range of complementary skills and the ability to organise and run diverse events that are safe, fun and which appeal to all ages. Annual events now include the Haymakers’ Tea, BBQ, Harvest Supper, and Christmas carols on the Green. Even the forum ‘committee’ meetings attract 12 or more participants … about 15% of the community. The constitution of Llais Llanychaer states that “the committee shall be the members who attend any particular committee meeting on any particular date.” In addition the position of Chairperson rotates throughout the year. We believe that these factors encourage a feeling of ‘inclusivity.’

Our local history day created much interest with the consequence that a small group of residents now meet regularly specifically to follow-up and investigate various matters of historical interest.

Communication is important and, in order to keep residents informed, bi-lingual newsletters have been delivered to every house in the village. We have also installed two locally made oak notice boards at key places in the village, and we have taken the first steps to create a village website.

We have published a  ‘Harvest Recipe Book’ comprising recipes submitted by village residents and other supporters of Llais Llanychaer. The process of collecting these recipes, collating them and producing the booklet created a good amount of interaction. Several of these books have now been sold and have contributed usefully to Llais Llanychaer funds.

In June 2005 we learned that our entry in the Community Life section of the Calor Welsh Village of the Year competition had earned us a place on the shortlist for judging. This put is in the top group of 8 out of a total of 60 entries in this category. The judging panel visited the village on 14 July. We were then invited to the award ceremony in Cardiff on 28 September 2005 and received Special Merit recognition for our efforts. The citation for the award said that “as a village without a shop, school or hall the effort and achievements were outstanding and in the opinion of the judges deserved recognition”

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

 

Health and Well-being

Relevance to the Community

The SHARP survey showed that there are health concerns and illnesses in the area with stress and loneliness affecting health. The whole thrust of the project was to improve the level of health and well-being in the community. In the list of Important Issues, interviewees placed ‘local health services and facilities’ in the top 6 (out of 14).

Progress so far

Our programme of events has undoubtedly had a positive impact, given the link between a healthy community spirit and personal health and well-being. We are now concentrating on more specific issues and, for example, have held a healthy-eating demonstration and also run three training courses to qualify more than 20 participants in Cooking Hygiene.

 

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

 

Employment and the Economy

Relevance to the community

This has been an issue for the village since the closure of the RNAD depot at Trecwn. Many then made redundant are still unemployed.

Employment is most often considered in its obvious guise of providing direct jobs, the lack of which was a frequently-voiced concern in the SHARP interviews. 76% of those interviewed cited this as a problem area and, of these, 37% rated ‘work’ in their top three items of importance for the community. The shortage of work is a problem causing local residents, particularly the young, to move away. The impact of providing local jobs is not limited to those who get the work. Local jobs increase the probability that different generations of a family will stay close by, with all the social support that this implies. The presence of local business creates a ‘buzz’ and sense of purpose which assists in halting any trend towards a village becoming an inactive rural backwater. Employees use local facilities such as the pub (and potentially a shop) thus increasing the economic viability of the village, in turn attracting appropriate developments in housing and public amenities. Additional benefits are that local businesses have resources and skills which can be made available to the community.

Our aim is to encourage and/or create a level of employment which results in a measure of economic and residential stability

Progress so far

Llais Llanychaer is not an employer but its activities to date have attracted business to the pub and to some local individuals (e.g. construction of notice boards and, in 2007-08, a major project to build the Dan Y Coed Bridge over the River Gwaun.) We have also benefited from the resources available from local businesses (e.g. equipment used during the Village Clean-Up event). Potential businesses have been helped by the loan of equipment acquired by Llais Llanychaer.

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

Housing

Relevance to the Community

The Llanychaer community is an aging one with few young families and (deleted ‘fewer’) young children. ‘Housing’ was rated in the top 5 (out of 14) topics in both the SHARP lists of Important Issues and Problems. Its importance is due to the fact that the existence of appropriate and available housing would help families ‘stay local’, allowing older folk to keep in touch and giving them the peace of mind that help is near when needed. The reverse is also true in that older folk can assist with child care and babysitting. There is not enough affordable family housing in or around the village. There are also perceived inequalities in planning applications which prevent building.

Progress so far

Little action has been appropriate to date, not least because it is quite possible that a small number of low-cost houses will be provided in the village in the foreseeable future. Currently, Llais Llanychaer is not responsible for any proposed housing developments. However, we maintain awareness of the aims and outcomes of SHARP project and seek involvement in any consultations and decisions that would affect the community.

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

Transport

Relevance to the Community

Suitable bus transport is lacking, especially for people with disabilities. Also the shuttle bus services that do exist take people away from Fishguard rather than into town. These observations help to explain why residents rated ‘transport’ in the top three problem areas in the SHARP interviews. The times, availability and reliability of local bus services were cited as specific problems.

Transport was also rated of medium importance in the list of ‘Important’ issues since services are vital for non-drivers living in a rural community who need to get to essential facilities, hospital appointments etc.

Progress so far

Llais Llanychaer has not addressed transport issues to date, although we have already proved the effectiveness of providing mini-bus transport during our Open gardens day.

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

 

 

Community Space

Relevance to the Community

The appearance of the village matters to residents not just because they take pride in the appearance of their surroundings but also because they wish visitors to be attracted to the village and its amenities. This strengthens support for local businesses (e.g. the post office and the pub) and for village events. It also sustains the feeling that Llanychaer is a viable community and in touch with the rest of the world. It is also important that venues are available for meetings and indoor events, and that these venues are acceptable to the majority of people participating.

There are three public buildings in the village: Glandwr Chapel, St Davids Church and the Bridge End Inn. In addition, householders have been willing to make their properties available for meetings and outdoor events.

Given these positive facts, our current plan is to maximize the use we can make of existing facilities … each one being suitable for different purposes. Our vision is that the public buildings (e.g. church, chapel, public house) will remain economically sustainable and in active use. We will remain open-minded about creating a new public building to serve as ‘Village Hall’ as a project some time in the future, but only if the need is fully demonstrated as we gain more experience of staging community events and if such a project would be financially viable. 

The village green is important to residents as it makes a big visual impact and yet it is not in the care or ownership of the village. It is under-utilised, and perhaps not optimum in terms of layout given the twin needs to preserve space and provide sensitive yet effective parking facilities. The village is also served by a number of footpaths, many of which have recently been restored and maintained.

Several suggestions have been made about Community Space, and these are recorded below simply to illustrate the variety and complementary nature of what it might be possible to provide in future:

Progress so far

 

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

 

Traffic

Relevance to the Community

The village is bisected  by a narrow country lane with no off-road parking. Matters are complicated by steep hills and houses abutting the road. The concerns which make ‘traffic’ a widely-felt problem include:

Progress so far

Some meetings have already taken place with County and Community Council representatives regarding the desirability for a 30mph limit on the currently de-restricted road through the village, and also the re-alignment of the fence between the road and the green.  Llais Llanychaer regards the settlement of these topics as a high priority for 2008.

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

 

 

Heritage/Tourism and the Environment

Relevance to the Community

The village environment is important for the residents of Llanychaer. There is an extensive network of footpaths around the village and many of these have been recently overhauled, an ongoing programme which is much appreciated by residents. These paths are increasingly used by locals, but could be better promoted to visitors. A guide containing details of walks, trails and natural history is urgently needed in view of the number of visitors using holiday cottages in the area and to ensure active use of the funding that PCC and PCNP have invested in reopening paths. All developments, whether in terms of publicity or the provision of new facilities, must address both the concerns of landowners and the community at large. There is also general interest in exploring heritage – this could be exploited further to encourage visitors.

Our overall aim is that there is year-round interest in, and use of, the village and its amenities from residents and visitors alike

Progress so far

Future development possibilities include all or some of the following:

 

 

 

Appendix 1

Some Recent Events Organised by the Community of Llanychaer

(both before and after the formation of Llais Llanychaer)

Bank Holiday Fun Day

Firework Night

Tractor Cavalcade

Haymakers’ Teas

Treasure Hunts and BBQs

Guided walks in the locality

Harvest Suppers

Healthy-Eating Cookery Demonstration

Autumn Festival

Carol Singing on The Green each December

Quiz Night

Local History Talk

Compilation of book of Local Recipes

Cooking Hygiene courses

First Aid course

Easter Saturday Celebrations

Village Outing to St Fagans Welsh History Museum, Cardiff

Village Litter Tidy-Up Day

Events Management courses

Turkey Bingo Evenings

Open Gardens Day, plus follow-up visits and dinner

‘The Story of Stones’  -  Geology talk

Village Outing to ‘Proms in the Park’, Scolton Manor

Plus Fund Raising Activities, for example …

Restoration of the Church Roof:  St David’s, Llanychaer

Paul Sartori Hospice, 

Ysgol Gynradd Llanychllwydog, Cwm Gwaun

The Gateway Club, Fishguard

 

Appendix 2

 

Llanychaer Village Enhancements

Village Green

Llanychaer signs inset in Oak     

All signs in the village cleaned –schedule of cleaning

Ranch style fencing 3 bars with square mesh around the “Green”

New kissing gate

Cut back overhanging trees and scrub around the field perimeter to the fence line

Raise crown on Willow

Plant an Oak Tree dedicated from Llais Llanychaer

Daffodils around the Notice Boards

More Picnic tables on the “Green”

Waste Bin on the “Green” 

Fence off the “bend” of playing field roughly a meter in, starting at the field gate up to the other side of telephone kiosk, putting the space created for the use of parking and     enabling the traffic to flow easier through the village.  *See Below

Approaches to Village

Speed restrictions.

‘Take your litter home’ signs.

Compact shrubs perhaps Hebe on the verge by Old Post office

Daffodils planted on verges up to Bryn Deri

Bryn Deri would like a circular bench around the tree on the green

Shrubs planted on the green along field fence line

Daffodils around the Notice Board

Daffodils where able up to and on the cross roads

Cross roads strimmed to keep tidy