For the first time, Central Government is keen to encourage Local Communities, such as Ruscombe, to work together to create a vision for the future development of their Parish.

To achieve this, Local Communities are being invited to create a NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN.

 A Neighbourhood Plan would cover such issues as:

~ a shared vision of how Ruscombe should look in 10 year's time

~ what new development (houses, shops, services) would be beneficial to residents

~ where any such development should be located

~ what areas in the Parish need special protection from development

Remember, almost 90% of the land in Ruscombe lies in the Green Belt, which is already fully protected under current Wokingham Borough Council planning policies. So, this leaves very little room for any major development in Ruscombe.

Last year, Ruscombe Parish Council conducted a survey of Ruscombe residents to gauge public opinion.

Results of the Neighbourhood Planning Questionnaire.

Thank you to the residents who completed the Neighbourhood Planning Questionnaire; we appreciate you taking the time and effort to give us your opinions on the future of Ruscombe.  There were 4 main categories in the questionnaire; we asked about amenities in Ruscombe, housing requirements, issues that are important to residents and whether people would be willing be involved in and/or fund the development of a neighbourhood plan for Ruscombe.  We received 20 responses in total, the answers that we received from the questionnaires have been collated and analysed.  These results are summarised below. 

Amenities: Approximately half of the respondents did not feel that there was any need for additional amenities in Ruscombe; several of these people stated that they felt that Ruscombe is served adequately by amenities in neighbouring Twyford.  The remainder were interested in a range of facilities; the most commonly selected were children’s play areas and a newsagent shop. 

Housing: When asked about housing requirements, over half of the respondents felt that there was not a need for additional housing in Ruscombe.  The remaining 9 people had differing views regarding the types of properties that they felt were required, although 5 people felt that there is a need for affordable homes and/ or social housing. 

Issues affecting daily life in Ruscombe:  We asked about the importance of a range of issues such as environment, health, policing, highways etc.  Overwhelmingly, 16 of the 20 respondents felt that protecting the greenbelt is an important issue for Ruscombe; of these 10 felt that it is the most important issue for Ruscombe.  The high level of importance that residents place upon protecting our rural parish is shared by the Parish Council and we make it a priority to do all that we can to protect green belt land from development.  Other important issues that were cited as being important in Ruscombe were concerned with building control and highways issues such as parking, road maintenance, cycling provision and speeding. 

Neighbourhood plan: When asked, 7 of the respondents said that they would be willing to be involved in developing a neighbourhood plan for Ruscombe and 12 people said that they would be willing to pay an additional £20 in 2014-15 on the Parish Precept portion of the council tax.  Half of the residents said that they would be willing to pay slightly more on the Parish Precept to fund additional amenities in the parish.

It was decided at the meeting of Ruscombe Parish Council on 4th February that Ruscombe Parish Council will NOT will be preparing a Neighbourhood Plan.  Further information will be published in the spring edition of the Twyford and Ruscombe News and the issue will be discussed at the Annual Parish Meeting on the 15th May 2014.