Fownhope is a vibrant parish with a strong track record of community ambition and innovation. Chris Gooding from Data Orchard was called in to assist them with the design of their neighbourhood plan questionnaire, having previously helped them with their very successful parish plan.
With much of the data from the recent parish plan still being relevant and contemporary, the group were able to draft their questionnaire around those planning issues not fully covered during the parish plan consultations. A lively debate ensued regarding what questions should be asked and how they should be framed. This focused on issues such as avoiding ambiguity and bias, ensuring a simple linear lay-out, offering clear and consistent guidance, and using plain English. At each stage the group were challenged on the purpose of each question; i.e. why do you need this data and what will you do with it? After several detailed iterations, Chris formatted the final draft to professional standards for the printers.
As part of the support package Chris also advised the group with the logistical aspects of the survey. Volunteers were recruited and trained to deliver and collect the questionnaires by hand, resulting in an 83% return rate from all residents over the age of 16 in the parish!
The questionnaires were then processed by Data Orchard and an analysis report written by Tony Cramp, was handed over some six weeks after the questionnaires were collected in.
Bill Bloxsome, Data Orchard’s planning expert, then took over to work with the group to identify key issues from the data and formulate policy for their plan. Their neighbourhood development plan successfully passed through a referendum in July 2016 with high voter turnout.
David Clark, Chair of the Fownhope Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group said he was “very impressed with all Data Orchard had done”.