70 members of the Poundbury Community came together at Brownsword Hall on 15th March 2023 to get the conversation going following the Love Poundbury AGM.
This first working session was introduced by members of the small team who will be organising The Big Poundbury Conversation over the next few months.
The origin of the initiative was explained as was how those who live and work in Poundbury can get involved over the next few months.
Data drawn from the 2021 census was then presented, telling us something about the population of Poundbury.
The data showed that one third of the population is over 65 but that two thirds are younger. The data also reveals some interesting figures for the numbers of students, singles, those who have caring responsibilities, those who have on-going health issues, employment status, patterns of ownership or renting and levels of car ownership. The data reminded the room of the breadth of the community and helped to prompt participants to think of others not necessarily represented that night.
Participants were then asked at their tables to identify and discuss:
- Things that are working well for them in Poundbury- what they appreciate about living here?
- What doesn’t seem to be working well?
- What would make this a really great place to live (what do we need to give more attention to)?
Participants commented on the ease of getting to shops and services and on the attractiveness of the buildings and architecture. They have good neighbours and generally it feels safe.
Transport links to Dorchester are valued as are the green spaces that exist to take exercise and to walk dogs. There is a great range of cafes available as well as clubs and activities.
Not working so well
When participants were being more critical, they commented on aspects of road safety and problems with parking, including the number of camper vans that are left in bays. They identified issues to do with dogs’ mess left in green spaces. They were concerned about some aspects of anti-social behaviour. There were comments on the finish of some paths. They were concerned about the range and sustainability of shops. Despite the great range of organized activities there is still a feeling that we don’t mix as well as we might across the generations and across population groups. There doesn’t seem to be enough provision for younger people and there is a much better gearing to the needs of older members. Finally, there is a feeling that the Duchy is not responsive to the needs of people living here.
What would make this a great place to live?
There is a link between the ‘not working well’ and ‘what would make this a great place’. The themes include having more social activities to bring different parts of the community together, having more sports activities and more activities generally for younger groups. There is a desire to explore ways of making Poundbury more environmentally friendly including greener sources of energy (solar included) as well as the more immediate clearing up of dogs’ mess. Road safety is important including signage for new speed limits and greater provision for cycling. And there is a desire to have a more responsive Duchy to enable some of these improvements.
Over the next few weeks we will keep you in touch with the issues that people want to discuss and make progress on.
The online survey is well underway, and it is giving some insight into the strength of feeling about these and other issues. The survey does overlap with these discussions but there are also other questions related to communication and keeping in touch. The survey is another important part of the The Big Poundbury Conversation.
Click this link to take the survey.
And finally let us know if you would like to meet a member of the team or have them come to a meeting that you wish to organise. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org