The Parish of Dorstone

in Herefordshire's Golden Valley

Dorstone Parish Council - Parish Plan

| Jan 08 update | July 08 update | October 08 update | November 08 update |
| January 09 update | May 09 update | Sept 09 - Draft Plan | Nov 09 - Final Plan |
| Planning Guidance - draft | Parish Plan Final - June 2010 |

Minutes: 6 January 2011 |

Steering Group

Colin Thomas (Chair) John Platts (Secretary), Emma Beddall (Publicity) Matthew Swindale (Treasurer), Russell Goodwin, Eileen Smith, Toni Birchenhough, Violet Smith, Bryn Brooks, Simon Gaze*, Pat Rye*, Mary Hessian* & Chris Hendy**

* Parish Council Members
** Parish Council Clerk

How did this start?

The idea to prepare a Parish Plan came from two open meetings held in the Village during last Summer, where it was agreed that we should prepare one for Dorstone.  A Steering Group was formed comprising mainly of volunteers but also three members of the Parish Council who are sponsoring the Plan.

What is the Parish Plan and what is its purpose?

A Parish Plan is a comprehensive look at all the local issues which are seen as important by members of the community. The purpose is that it should become a guide upon which the local Parish Council and Herefordshire Council and other bodies can make decisions affecting Dorstone. It should also contain an agreed Action Plan to attempt to tackle any problems/improvements identified. Some of these may be dealt with as we go and would not have to wait until the final plan is published.

Consulting the Community

The success and quality of the Plan depends on everyone’s involvement, and therefore we felt it was important to tell everyone about how we plan to tackle this project and how we will be consulting everyone in the Parish. 

A very important part of the consultation is a Questionnaire to find out everyone’s views.  To help us prepare the Questionnaire we want to ensure that we are concentrating on the right issues.

Parish Plan Update Meeting Sunday 13th January 2008

50+ persons were present.   Colin Thomas (Chairman) gave a presentation, which outlined the progress so far, and the time plan for the next 12 months.

Points Raised

  1. Housing needs and future planning - a housing needs survey might well be incorporated in the final questionnaire. 
  2. Environmental aspect to the plan.
  3. Under 18s - a separate meeting and questionnaire will be issued to ensure that their comments were taken into account.
  4. Would there be a long waiting time before items were dealt with – would everything have to wait until the Parish Plan was finalised?  Immediate concerns could be followed up as soon as they are raised – i.e. transport issues take a long time, but some things might be fast-tracked.
  5. Very dangerous to cross from church to play area, esp. for children. The whole issue of speed of traffic is a serious one for the parish, as the permitted speed limit through the village is officially 60m.p.h.

We also asked people to fill in a simple form:

  • what you like
  • what you don’t like
  • what needs to be improved in Dorstone.

There were a total of 20 replies received out of 130 sent out.

Traffic/speed and Village Hall/Playing fields had elicited the most comments, and to follow these up representatives will ascertain the feelings from members of the various organisations in the Parish and their plans for the next 5 years - Shop Association, WI, Playing Fields, PCC/church, Village Hall, Playgroup, GV YFC, Chapel, Tourism GVE.

Also using the information from these forms, several informal discussion groups of about 10 people each will be arranged to explore in more detail the issues being raised.

Parish Plan Update - July 2008

The main activity of the Parish Plan Steering Group since the update meeting in January has been to complete consultations to determine the main issues facing the parish and then to prepare a questionnaire to obtain detailed views of everyone in the parish on these issues.

The questionnaire is now being finalised and it is planned to deliver it to everyone, including a youth questionnaire for under 18s, in the first week of September.

This is a vital stage in the preparation of the plan in order to ensure that we have a comprehensive view from as many people as possible on the identified topics which are:-

  • Housing
  • Planning and conservation
  • Traffic
  • Transport
  • Environment
  • Communications
  • Village facilities and leisure
  • Village services

Your help in completing these questionnaires will be much appreciated as your views form the basis of the plan.

Parish Plan Update - October 2008

Thank you to all parishioners who completed the recent Parish Plan Questionnaire and to the 14 volunteers who delivered and collected them.

Questionnaires were delivered to 154 occupied houses in the Parish - 136 households replied which is an amazing 88% return.

Completed questionnaires have now been sent for analysis by Herefordshire Research Services. In terms of individuals we can see that 81% of adult residents returned a completed questionnaire and 69% of under-18s returned theirs.We hope to have the result of the analysis by early December but in view of the large number returned it may take longer than expected!

These are very good figures and reflect well on the residents enthusiasm for the future of the Parish.

The Prize draw will take place in November and I will keep you informed of the progress of the Parish Plan through our magazine and this Website

Parish Plan Update - November 2008

Those of you who visit the Dorstone Web Site or have seen the October report in the Link Magazine will know what we had a tremendous response to our Parish Plan Questionnaire. Questionnaires were delivered to 154 occupied houses in the Parish – 136 households replied which an amazing 88% return.

The completed questionnaires were sent for analysis to the Herefordshire Council Research team, who tell us that 81% of adult residents returned a completed questionnaire and 69% of under-18s returned theirs. From their experience with other Parish Plan questionnaires in the County, 50% is usually considered very good, so our result is brilliant and therefore a big thanks should be extended to everyone who took the time and trouble to complete the forms.

The Research Team had indicated that they hoped to complete their work by early December but they are currently in the middle of completing work on another two big surveys, so it is unlikely that we will have their analysis back in sufficient time to report to the Parish at an Open Meeting before Christmas. However this will only involve a short delay and we plan to present their findings to a meeting in the Village Hall on Sunday January 11th 2009 – probably late afternoon. So please make a note of this date and we will confirm exact arrangements nearer the time. We will carry out the cash prize draw for completing the forms at this meeting.

The excellent response to the Questionnaire means that we can confidently use the information as a representative view of parishioners and give us a firm basis to prepare the most important part of this project - the Action Plan. In the meantime it is encouraging that the idea to develop the “Dorstone Front Room”, described overleaf was prompted by a question in the survey on possible alternative uses for the Village Shop. This is a good early win for the Parish Plan process.

Parish Plan Update - January 2009

The following documents are available for download:

Parish Plan Update - May 2009
Report given to the Annual Parish Open Meeting on 20 May

Following publication of the results of the Questionnaire in January the Steering Group has been researching and discussing each of the main topic areas – Planning, traffic, facilities etc. Sub Groups have been formed to examine each area and to develop Action Plans to deal with the major concerns of Parishioners, identified in the Survey. Progress to date in each area is as follows:-

  • Planning, Development and Housing meetings have been held with Herefordshire Planning and Conservation Officers to gain a better understanding of the Council’s policies and also to win their support for proposals that reflect the views of Parishioners in this important area. As a result we will be producing a  draft Planning Guidance Note, which incorporates the ideas expressed in the Survey, for adoption by the Parish Council and which Planning Officers can take into account in considering Planning Applications.
  • Traffic and Transport a detailed examination has been carried out to identify the worst examples of poor road maintenance within the Parish. It is clear that speeding is the major safety concern of Parishioners and discussions are being held with Herefordshire Highways and the Police to introduce speed limits.
  • Environment research is being undertaken to find out more about a number of areas, for example more energy efficient public lighting, alternative energy sources, a possible sewerage scheme and the practical application of having minimum carbon emissions from new houses or extensions. Cycle and Quiet lanes are being progressed by the Golden Valley Environmental Group. Improved and extended recycling facilities are being introduced by the Herefordshire Council in November.
  • Communications the Dorstone Village Web Site is now well established and carrying a range of information about the Village and its activities. An Activities Board is now outside the Front Room.
  • Parish Facilities & Leisure regretfully, the Post Office has shut but Dorstone’s Front Room which originated from two founder members considering options in the Questionnaire, is now well established and is doing well. It has incorporated many ideas suggested in the Questionnaire, for example, community bulk buying, having a meeting place, displaying and selling local craft products as well as being a tourist information centre.
    • The Village Hall Committee is actively looking at plans for re-furbishment of the Hall, starting with making the fabric of the building more energy efficient with better sound proofing.
    • The Playing Fields Committee has obtained proposals for the complete re-furbishment of the Children’s Playground as well as improving drainage at the bottom end of the field.
    • The Church is looking at extending the use of the Church by having more flexible seating arrangements as well as having toilet facilties and a small kitchen.
  • Youth the Youth Club has gone from strength to strength, meeting some of the needs of our young people. The young people questionnaire also highlighted the same concerns as adults over issues such as speeding – referred to above.

Next Steps
As demonstrated, the Parish Planning process has created an impetus for action. In some cases things have already happened, in others work is in progress; in others more work, particularly with other bodies, is required. The objective is to produce a draft Plan by July which will be short and will concentrate on Action Plans, and not to produce a wordy document which no-one will read or use. The Parish Council receives monthly reports on our work and it is hoped they will be able to adopt the Plan and take the work forward as their agenda for the future. We also hope that the Planning aspects will be approved by Herefordshire Council. We hope to call an Open Parish meeting during July/August to present the draft Final Plan.

Colin Thomas – Chair of Steering Group - May 18th 2009.

Parish Plan Update - September 2009
Final Parish Plan Draft

The Parish Council has approved the final draft of the Parish Plan prepared by the Parish Plan Steering Group. Parishioners can access the final draft of the Plan here and paper copies will also be available in the Dorstone Front Room.

If anyone has any comments on the Final Draft Plan please forward them to the Chair of the Steering Group, Colin Thomas, via e mail on or in writing to Colin at Castle Barn, next to the Village Hall or by phone on 550788. The aim is to send The Plan for formal approval to Herefordshire Council at the beginning of October so comments are required by the end of September.

Download a copy of the Final Draft

Parish Plan Update - November 2009
Parish Plan Final

Click here to download a copy of the Parish Plan as submitted to Herefordshire County Council.

Parish Plan Update - April 2010
Appendix F - Planning Guidance

There is one important piece of the Parish Plan which is outstanding - the further Planning Guidance which covers future housing developments, building styles and conservation issues. This document has been considered by a joint meeting of the Parish Council and Parish Plan Steering Group, and second draft version is now available. Your views are welcome before this document is finally considered by the Parish Council on June 9th. If agreed it will then be submitted to Herefordshire County Council for their consideration. The objective is that it will become part of the Formal Planning Guidance of the County Council with respect to these issues in Dorstone and will also be used by the Parish Council in considering new applications. If you have any comments please forward them to me as - Chair of the Parish Plan Steering Group, either in writing to Castle Barn, e-mail at or telephone 550788. Thank you - Colin Thomas

Time Scales for plan

  • Consultation meetings take place: March 2008
  • Final Questionnaire prepared, delivered & collected: April - October 2008
  • Assessment of findings: November - December 2008
  • Drafting of plan and revisiting any areas necessary: January – March 2009
  • Full plan prepared: April – June 2009
  • Publish Plan: July 2009

If you want to offer your help in any way please contact

Colin Thomas -


John Platts -

Or any member of the committee