THE FUTURE OF WESTBOURNE
How we can keep our village thriving – and how you can help.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Unlike many villages, we still have a primary school, a post office, a church, a petrol station, a GP surgery, shops, a cafe, a restaurant and pubs. But Westbourne has some real challenges on the horizon. We need to act to make sure it doesn’t go into the decline being experienced by many other rural villages. Our shops, pubs and small businesses are fighting hard to survive. Some bus services have been withdrawn with others remaining under threat. And our young people struggle to find homes in the village they grew up in.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Recognising that many rural communities are struggling in the face of austerity and the lack of county and district funding, the government is currently providing financial support to help local communities take the initiative in building their own local affordable housing. The idea is that villages form community land trusts (CLTs). A CLT is a non-profit, community organisation run by volunteers that can hold assets in trust for the benefit of all local people.
In common with a number of parishes in West Sussex and beyond, a group of local residents has therefore taken the initiative by forming a community land trust for Westbourne. Here are some of the ideas that the group has identified for the benefit of the Westbourne community.
- Build affordable housing on an appropriate site in the village.
- Improve playground facilities.
- Provide storage & WCs at the allotments, and a secure WPC storage facility.
- Create a car park and picnic area near the centre of the village.
- Support local businesses and provide business starter units.
- Provide high- speed mobile and broadband services.
- Introduce traffic-calming measures and public realm improvements in The Square.
- Encourage local tourism.
- Organise local transport schemes.
- Improve social care by organising community buying of carer services for older residents.
- Establish a village hub, with space and facilities for community services and activities.
Westbourne will have to raise funding to achieve our goals. We will need to show:
- a clear vision of what we want to achieve
- a robust and viable costed business plan
- community support for the vision
A CLT must be community led, fully accountable and democratic. It will need parish council support but it can’t be parish-council led.
If you’re interested in any of the above ideas, have any comments, or would like to help get a CLT off the ground, please get in touch.