Freshwater East Action Plan 2017
Freshwater East DRAFT 2017 Action Plan
Background and Introduction
The Action PLAN Process
Progress Review since 2011
The Heart of Freshwater East
Developing Ideas into Action
1. Community Facilities and Activities
2. Community Services, Enterprise and Communication
3. Environment and Energy
4. History, Heritage and Culture
5. Highways, Transport and Housing
Appendix 1 - Pledges
Appendix 2 â€“ Help Desk
This Action Plan was ratified at a Public Meeting at The Longhouse, Freshwater East, on Friday 10th February 2017
Background The Freshwater East community has been working with SPARC, later PLANED (Pembrokeshire Local Action Network for Enterprise and Development) for 20 years as part of its ongoing action planning process. This approach not only recognises all that is best about a place but looks at ways of working collaboratively, to make the most of everything local: from celebrating heritage to identifying enterprise opportunities, and the potential links. An up to date Action Plan sets out local projects and is evidence that a community has come together to plan for the future, get projects underway and regularly review progress. It is a vital piece of evidence when applying for project funding. It is integrated and innovative, encourages networking and takes account of the wider area context on a national and Welsh Government level, including for example the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, as well as county plans like the Pembrokeshire Economic Development Strategy 2017-2022. Working together to update the Action plan, (this is Freshwater Eastâ€™s fourth) keeps the process open to all, encouraging long-standing and newer residents to not only have their say but to get involved in making things happen. Itâ€™s about communities doing it for themselves - with support where required. Introduction Freshwater East, three miles south-east of Pembroke, is in the Lamphey Community Council area, within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The population of 250 (Pembrokeshire Profile 2011), peaks at up to 2000 in a busy holiday season. Approached from Lamphey along the B4584, the hilltop village begins at Portclew where the road named after this historic site runs into Jason road. Freshwater East is spread out along a half mile stretch, with a view-point at its eastern end. To the north is the small hamlet of Lake, surrounded by rich farmland, with views to Hodgeston and The Ridgeway. Housing flanks the southern sweep of Trewent Hill down to Freshwater East Bay and properties dot sand dunes known as The Burrows at the back of the beach. Cliffs to the north and south are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
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Opposite the beach is Trewent Park, a mix of more than 300 holiday and longer-term residential properties. Nearby, pitches at the Freshwater East Caravan Club site have been increased to 180. Rated as one of the best in Britain, the site has extended its opening hours from the start of March to the end of October. Local business people feel this could be extended even further as the sheltered site has hard standings so can be used in winter. Half a mile up the road, Portclew Farm camping and caravan site has around 50 pitches. Visitors enjoy local events like the summer fete and provide income which can be used for developing further activities. Beyond a nearby public car park are reed beds and woodland known as the â€˜Secret Marshâ€™, which along with much of The Burrows, is a registered Local Nature Reserve, managed by the national park authority and local volunteers. The small hamlet of East Trewent tops a hill to the west, on the road to Stackpole, above an area known as Scrubby Bottom, which is part of the Stackpole Estate owned by the National Trust. Freshwater East residents are a mix of those whose forbears span generations and those who have settled more recently to enjoy the good quality of life. The original Freshwater East Society was formed in 1961 to conserve the natural environment and deter over-development. That strong community spirit is still evident in the way residents share knowledge, skills and experience to tackle projects. 4
As well as a heritage rich in natural and historical features (see Freshwater East Heritage Group ‘Sense of Place’ leaflet 2007) there is a distinct local economy. A temperate climate and fertile soils have fostered specialist farming, notably corn and early potato growing. A strong tradition of welcoming visitors stems from the coming of the railway to Lamphey in 1864 and, after seeking sanctuary in wartime, many local townspeople also enjoyed holidays here. Agriculture and tourism remain economic drivers, along with the wider energy industry. Statistics for the area (‘South’ section of Pembrokeshire Profile - includes parts of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock) indicate that the population is largely white (99.5%, Pembrokeshire 99.1%, Wales 99.7%)); predominantly English-speaking (8.5% read, write and speak Welsh, half the overall percentage for Pembrokeshire). Dependants, children under 16 and people over 65, is 67.7%: slightly higher than the rest of Pembrokeshire (67.4%) and considerably higher than Wales generally (58.2%). Life expectancy is in line with rest of Pembrokeshire. Incomes are also comparative and there is good access to quality education but poor access to services. Public transport is limited and the community is 20 miles from the nearest hospital emergency department. Housing is predominantly privately owned with a high proportion of holiday homes. The Action Plan Process The first Action Plan was compiled in 1993 from the findings of a Community Appraisal, which local volunteers personally delivered, encouraging residents of all ages to have a say in a ‘stocktaking of the community’. Working with SPARC (later PLANED) the community’s action plan was updated in 2004. Considerable progress had been made by 2010, so Freshwater East Society and Community Association held another visioning workshop and an updated version was published in 2011. In September 2016, the community’s third visioning event brought residents aged four to 96 together to review progress and plan for the future, resulting in this, the fourth Action Plan. Community champions with energy to drive the action forward have remained a core feature throughout the decades. Theirs is a balanced approach; making the most of natural, economic, social and cultural strengths, looking outward, working to minimise challenges and maximise opportunities. Ongoing themes include increasing employment opportunities; protecting the environment; highway and public transport concerns and improving services for an ageing population. There is also emphasis on developing home-grown businesses; nurturing social ties; celebrating local heritage and improving amenities and communication: all aimed at shaping a sustainable future. Freshwater East Community Visioning.
Reviewing Progress since the 2011 Action Plan Introducing the 2016 visioning, Freshwater East’s Community Association (FESCA) chairman, Anthony Parfitt, reviewed progress, using headings from the 2011 plan. Community facilities and activities: The Longhouse at Trewent Park provides meeting space as well as a café bar and seasonal shop. Events have included a barn dance; summer fete and bonfire night celebration. FESCA meets at The Longhouse and at the Freshwater Inn. A children’s playground is still needed, while older children use an area near the old well, a natural meeting place in the past. Health: Several local people have completed First Aid training and a defibrillator has been installed in the village with plans for another nearer the beach. Environment and Enhancement: the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) management plan for the nature reserve provides a work framework, although topics like fencing and grazing the Burrows prompts much debate. The nature reserve board walk has been a success and there are plans to extend it to create a circular route. A blue/green algae problem on the beach is slowly improving. Heritage: two new interpretation panels have been installed – one at the east end of the village overlooking the bay and another providing history of the village well. Business: local businesses are responding to increased footfall at new events like the ‘Long Course’ weekend and ‘Iron Man’ eg refurbished caravan site. A year-round shop is still a target but supermarket delivery services are increasingly used. Highways and Transport: although there is a new 30mph sign, there is still concern about speeding traffic. Despite a 400 signature petition to the county council, there has been no progress with a cycle path to Lamphey. The Portclew to Lamphey footpath is a good country route but it is unsuitable for push chairs or wheel chairs. Housing and Services: main issue is lack of a mobile phone signal. A community effort to work with a landowner to site a local mast has been unsuccessful. Waste and Recycling: there is disappointment at a reduced general waste collection service made every other week. Recycled material is collected weekly. The FESCA chairman observed that despite many challenges, local residents regard Freshwater East as a wonderful community and a great place to bring up children. He urged everyone to make the most of the two-part visioning to be aspirational; to express concerns but to also suggest, and help with, solutions. He concluded by appealing for more volunteers to help with projects that will achieve positive change. During visioning workshop 1, residents identified the area’s qualities and aspiration for the future. These were developed in workshop 2, where participants considered their own skills and knowledge and any specialist help they might require. The workshop findings form the basis of this updated DRAFT community Action Plan.
The Heart of Freshwater East Local residents are active in every sense, enjoying walks on the safe, ‘dog friendly’ beach along with ‘birding’, sailing and surfing. Community spirit is strong, evident through membership of FESCA; FERN (Freshwater East Reserve for Nature); FEDRHA (Freshwater East Deeded Rights Holders Association); Coast Care group; Freshwater East Boatmen and Fishermen Association and Lamphey Historical Society. They also enjoy lunch clubs at local pubs; church; WI; yoga; bridge; gardening; photography, arts and crafts. Pride in the natural and built heritage ranges from interest in an Iron-Age site and the Portclew estate, to affection for ‘shacks’, once used for holiday breaks. The village has lost its pavilion, tennis court, bowling-green and post office which are today marked only by place names but older people recall collecting water from a village well and milk from Hill Farm. The local path network marks historic routes to neighbouring villages, Lamphey school and the commercial centre of Pembroke. The Freshwater Inn, once ‘The Grotto Country Club’, serves food, hosts pub quizzes and some community meetings. A beach-top café shop and nearby Miracle Inn were demolished some years ago but locals still recall ‘regular music and dances’ held there. Many visitors return to Freshwater East year after year, some settling permanently while others own holiday properties. Research into the history of local properties is popular, featuring in the village newsletter and on Trip Advisor. However, there is concern about absentee landlords and vacant properties. ‘Whites the baker’, and the SPAR shop within the service station in Lamphey, are valued as convenient and sociable. A fish-seller calls weekly and some residents believe other mobile businesses eg a hairdresser, could be supported. Local artists and craftspeople sell work on a casual basis and occasionally offer courses eg at the Potter’s Shed. The Longhouse at Trewent Park has a bar, café and seasonal shop, and is developing as an outdoor pursuit centre. It offers venue hire under the ‘Time Flies’ brand. Local businesses are promoted in the excellent village newsletter published twice a year and feature on Facebook and the jaunty freshwatereast.org.uk website. There is however frustration at poor mobile and broadband access and weak public transport links. The coast and countryside inspires affection, some people find serenity, while artists are stimulated to interpret it. Bluebells and blackberries mark the seasons. There are fossils, and 7
ancient forests, while the treeless hedges accentuate gull-tumbled skies. Flashes of lightning-bright sea glanced on surf-hushed, moonlit nights, are visible thanks to dark skies’ status. ‘The Burrows’ sand dunes are rich in wildlife, which can be enjoyed along a signed trail. The ‘Secret Marsh’ and The Burrows, are managed by the national park authority as a local nature reserve, with help from FERN volunteers. Developing Ideas into Action In visioning Workshop 2, groups formed around themes and considered ways of developing ideas into action, making the most of strengths like the rich environment and turning a lack of facilities into potential enterprises. This is in line with Welsh Government policy of encouraging communities to be as self-sufficient as possible, whether social care or transport, therefore preparing for a more sustainable future. Now is the time to make the most of funding and support available at a local and national level, maximising opportunities, for example developing community-based social care and housing, while retaining the essence of features that make each settlement special. That very sense of place can be part of a community’s offer to visitors who spend money, which in turn helps to boost the local economy and quality of life. Residents are generous in offering help, from building stone walls and legal knowledge, to cider-making and car space The Freshwater East community has an active, committed resident population. ‘Parttime’ residents and visitors, if directly asked, may be inclined to put a little extra into the area eg supporting a local produce market or an annual Freshwater East event, helping to boost local year-round facilities and services.
1. Community Activities, Facilities and Amenities Residents are open to ideas for developing further social and educational activities for all ages. They regret the lack of a hall or community centre but appreciate use of the Freshwater Inn and The Longhouse and would like to discuss any potential for yearround use of the latter. The community’s Facebook page and the Re-fresh newsletter could be used to invite suggestions for activities and would encourage commitment from volunteers to help get them underway. A Skills Audit undertaken during the visioning illustrated that residents have a wide range of skills and talents and many are willing to share these. 8
Local people are good at organising events like the Big Beach Draw which attracts participation and support from hundreds of followers via the Facebook page. Fund-raising ventures include sale of a Freshwater East calendar featuring images by photographers keen to represent the area’s sensational natural environment. Quizzes held at The Freshwater Inn support production of the Re-Fresh newsletter which is written, edited and distributed by local volunteers. It was agreed that a children’s play area would benefit resident and visitors’ families and siting one at The Longhouse is to be investigated. There is a general interest in water sports and a dedicated centre was suggested. ‘Time2Dive’ is a certified dive club based at The Longhouse and it is open to everyone. A ‘waterslide through the dunes’ (inspired by Ben Howard video ‘Keep Your Head Up’). Better beach facilities would enhance enjoyment and encourage visitors to stay longer. Residents suggested this should include improved wheel chair access; a rubbish bin near the notice board, more seating areas and benches on Trewent Head and the path to Swanlake. Proposals: FESCA will gauge support for developing a formal programme of activities Meet with The Longhouse owner to consider extending community use, with potential to boost out of season business opportunities (Enterprise section) Suggestions for activities included: o A book club or Book Cafe o Dance, music and social events for all ages o Nature education and other classes o Painting and drawing and craft experiences o Fitness boot camp, adventure/running, yoga, pilates, volley ball Explore potential site for a children’s play area, research costs and funding Meet with national park authority (see Environment section) regarding access, seating, rubbish bin, steps etc 2. Community Services, Enterprise and Communication Freshwater East is a caring community. Having addressed public safety by siting defibrillators in the village, there is a commitment to consider residents’ longer-term needs, like access to medical services and co-ordinated care so that they can stay independent for longer. Feeling secure at home is also important and research on the potential for a ‘neighbourhood’ scheme has been undertaken in the past. But neighbourliness comes naturally, and residents prefer to offer support, whether sharing lifts or dog walking, on an informal basis. There is potential to extend this as residents have a range of caring and technical skills. Luncheon clubs take place at the Freshwater Inn and the Stackpole Inn and there is potential for including a social option to ensure that residents are nourished in every sense. This could be combined with a heritage aspect eg ‘archive hours’ were popular with Carew luncheon club during the ‘Changing Times’ project. Increasing 9
classes and social events (see Community Facilities section) is popular and mixing the generations would be positive for those distant from families, while activity classes could include ‘gentle exercise’ to appeal to different age groups and abilities. Enthusiasm for a year-round shop was frequently expressed, as the one at The Longhouse closes in winter. Lamphey service station is valued is the nearest year-round facility and is a social hub too. Eggs and honey are sold in the village and fresh fish and milk are available, so a produce market with exhibition space for local arts and crafts could be trialled to test support and frequency. The Hermon community runs a successful quarterly market while the award-winning St Dogmaels market operates every Tuesday. Hairdressing, window cleaning and lawn mower repairs could be included in a local enterprise approach and residents have a range of skills to assist this. ‘An event to put Freshwater East on the map’, making the most of local talents, skills and experience or ‘a concession like the prize-winning Café Mor’, were suggested as a way of increasing ‘visitor footfall’ to help business and finance community projects. At a local level, there is a good range of options, including a central notice board with a location map for emergency services; a jaunty village website; a new Facebook page and the bi-annual newsletter. A ‘village directory of e-mail addresses’ has been suggested as a means of achieving a ‘better spread of information’. Twitter or a blog are being considered but ‘face to face’ conversations are regarded as crucial to remaining an open and welcoming community. However, larger scale communication, in terms of an efficient mobile phone signal and fast broadband, is poor, inhibiting business performance and even impeding the community defibrillators’ use. The infrastructure for superfast broadband is in place but installation is incomplete and has not yet reached East Trewent. There is some coverage via wifi eg at The Longhouse, ‘What’s App’ can be used for phone connection, other businesses may also offer this facility, but it is not consistent across the village. Fast connection is regarded as vital for the future of the community. Visitors expect mobile and internet coverage, and it is particularly concerning at a time when red phone boxes are being removed. Proposals Review ‘Good Neighbour’ scheme and potential to include other services Seek professional guidance for improving social care opportunities in line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act A FESCA working group will: o Explore local produce market idea in collaboration with The Longhouse o Research community enterprise opportunities via PLANED o Identify potential funding via Plunkett Foundation and other agencies o Explore ideas for a keynote Freshwater East event (Heritage section) Consult community regarding e-mail directory but check data protection Persist with efforts to solve mobile phone signal issues: consult with local landowners and investigate Vodaphone Open Sure Signal and other schemes 10
3. Environment and Energy The environment is key to locals’ love of the area and sense of wellbeing and they are committed to protecting it for future generations. FERN and Coast Care volunteers work hard to conserve it. ‘Citizen-science’ type surveys are encouraged via the community website and children are involved through school visits and wildlife spotting. The website urges visitors to ‘Help the Villagers Help the Planet’. The Secret Marsh board walk is currently being extended to form a circular route around this part of the nature reserve and further hides are to be installed. A centre with facilities for wildlife recording and refreshment has been proposed as a future project. Constructed of natural materials to an innovative and high quality specification, it would encourage more involvement from locals and visitors. It would also provide an example of good building practice for other community environment groups. Residents have skills to assist this project, ranging from building design to nature writing and fund raising. Issues relating to the local environment include fear of over-development, coastal erosion, cars congesting beach slipway and noise from jet skis. The national park authority’s grazing and fencing programme prompts debate. Vandalism, illegal camping and under-age drinking on The Burrows, resulting in broken glass and general trashing, is a particular concern: ask Police to visit local schools at end of term to warn against such behaviour and highlight impact on animals and children. The enhancement scheme at the eastern end of the village included parking spaces and notice boards but the beach rout has become overgrown and inaccessible to wheelchair users. Maintenance should be improved. Removing village entrance electricity transformers and increasing seating to be tackled in future. There is interest in forming a local walking group which could choose different routes to suit various abilities and fitness levels. This would not only assist physical health but promote social links, which is shown to improve general wellbeing. Providing steps on the Leach Valley (Happy Valley) path and good maintenance will help. Residents take a responsible attitude to energy. They purchase fuel on a group basis and want any future housing development to meet high environmental standards. Proposals Organise meeting with senior national park officer and local ranger to discuss: o access to beach, Leach Valley steps, benches (see Amenities section) o establishing a wildlife recording centre or shelter o beach/sea zoning of swimmers from jet-skis o removal of bracken and ragweed and thinning trees on The Burrows o protecting common and Burrows deeded and public rights of way 11
o developing reed beds as part of an overall renewable energy approach Contact PCSO to visit schools prior to term-end with regard to vandalism Gauge interest for walking group through Facebook and other local media with options for gentler gradients and themes like a ‘Sunrise Walk’ Contact John Muir organisation. It ‘defends wild land, re-wilds habitats and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with wild places’ Consult Western Power regarding removal of transformers Lobby on energy issues and carbon-reduction incentives to builders
4. History, Heritage and Culture Local people are proud of their heritage and the landscape and occupations that derive from it. Features range from the listed Portclew House to less obvious structures like an Iron Age fort and 12th century chapel. More recent history has a value too, with the benefit of being part of living memory. So, for example, fond recollections of dances at the Miracle Inn could be recorded and audio clips included in an exhibition or as part of a digital guided tour using a ‘Culture Beacon’ app. People of all ages enjoy getting involved in a local story, as evidenced by the interest in Freshwater East holiday memories posted on Trip Advisor. This could all be part of the Freshwater East experience. The Re-Fresh Newsletter is a record of village life and should be archived for future reference. It was proposed that an audit be made of historical assets, both tangible and the ephemeral: quality of light, a favourite view or smells and tastes. These make Freshwater East special, reinforcing a local sense of place and appealing to visitors. There is an interest in not only researching and recording heritage for its own sake but to value the potential for an enterprise titled ‘Primitive Pembrokeshire’, a heritage tourism attraction with a community aspect, combining arts and crafts as well as information about the built and natural assets. This could follow the eco-museum principle where a whole village, rather than just one location could be a hive of innovative interpretation, featuring an Iron Age forge, crafts and pottery, boat building; foraging, forestry and willow weaving skills: appealing to all ages throughout the year, helping to boost visitor numbers while celebrating its heritage. Local people have relevant skills and experience to assist this: including: building design; art and craft; story-telling, welding and stone walling, along with fundraising and project management. This eco-museum concept, ‘a museum without walls’ is popular in many parts of Europe and makes the most of place customs and people. Heritage could be the focus of an idea to ‘put Freshwater East on the map’, its ‘main event’: a festival embracing heritage, environment, local produce, music and culture, linking to all local businesses, including hospitality and accommodation providers, while raising revenue to support other community activities. 12
This will need specialist help eg advice and archaeological research, involving PCNPA, PCC, CADW; National Museum of Wales and others. Engaging children is seen as crucial eg ‘fun with wattle and daub’ sessions, using traditional skills. Proposals Arrange meeting to consider historical interpretation, which could include a book, oral history, audio exhibitions, smuggling stories and music Look at potential to promote oral history as a heritage and wellbeing project, encouraging memories, artefacts, pictures and shared enjoyment Tap into local knowledge eg Miss Joan Bird, Brian Howells, Sid Howells Ask Lamphey history group for help, also involve Lamphey school pupils Consult PLANED, PNCPA CADW and other agencies for training, digital advice, funding and gather information from county records eg school, church Explore ‘Primitive Pembrokeshire’ visitor centre/ gallery as an ‘ecomuseum’ and investigate potential sites eg old Miracle Inn site or beach café/shop Research sustainable building techniques for a round-house structure eg using reeds for roof, solar power: exemplar building - ancient and modern Recruit volunteers and co-ordinator to meet regularly for this task Establish ‘Re-Fresh’ village newsletter archive
5. Highways, Transport and Housing There is continued and strong commitment to establishing a pedestrian and cycle route to Lamphey, about two miles distant but along a twisty route which is busy in summer. Not only is this a safety and energy issue, it would encourage more walking and cycling, eg frequent use of the path between Carew and Milton. Road safety and deterring speeding traffic is still regarded as important. The Coastal Cruiser 387 and 388 bus services serve the community but are reduced from daily to twice weekly in winter. Trains run fairly frequently from Lamphey station but parking is limited and fares are increasing. Car ownership a necessity but this is costly in economic and energy terms. Parking fees should be reduced for short term local use eg when walking dog on beach. Some residents can’t drive or are unable to do so any longer, so there is interest in developing a local taxi or ‘dial a ride’ service; Car sharing is another option as part of a commitment to energy-saving and in line with the ‘Good Neighbour’ proposal. Car parking costs are controversial and residents want more local concessions. Developing affordable sustainable housing with renewable energy options remains an important ambition, with potential to work in collaboration with PCNPA and consult with other interested communities like Hermon and Newport. Proposals Continue to lobby for a footpath and cycleway to Lamphey and cutting speed Press PCNPA for reduced car park fee for short term use eg walk on beach 13
Explore potential for setting up a local taxi/dial a ride service: consult PACTO (Pembrokeshire Association of Community Transport Organisations) Research sustainable building and traditional techniques with renewable energy and carbon minimal options, reed beds etc, (see Environment section) – involve PCNPA and other interested communities in discussions Encourage visitors to contribute to community life - financially or practically
APPENDIX 1 - PLEDGES History Project - volunteer
New-Build Sustainability Policy
Common Land Registration
Mobile Phone Signal
Iron Age Roundhouse – investigate, meetings and use as a tourist and community facility.
Waste bins & benches
Local support for the Elderly
Gallery Studio – Long term project
Temporary/mobile water slide – black plastic and bucket of water
Café and shop. Next to Potter’s Shed
Approach Longhouse owner about project
Put article in newsletter
Use Facebook for feedback
Appendix 2 – Action Plan Help Desk Organisation
Funding advice and support:
(Pembrokeshire Local Action Network for Enterprise and Development)
Arwain Sir Benfro/RCDF
PAVS (Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services) PACTO (Pembrokeshire Association of Community Transport Organisations)
Funding and Governance Advice
Pembrokeshire Funding Portal Help for people and groups who don't have access to own transport or don’t have or can't use conventional public transport services.
PCC (Pembrokeshire County Council)
email@example.com 01437 769422 www.idoxopen4community.co.uk/pembrok eshire www.pacto.org.uk 01437 776550
www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/ Biodiversity Officer Transport & Highways eg safe routes in communities Good Neighbours scheme
Dyfed Archaeological Trust
Community heritage records and digs.
Support to take positive steps to improve health and wellbeing, socialise and enjoy life within a community setting.
National Resources Wales Keep Wales Tidy
01437 769 422
Information via PLANED (see above)
Information via PLANED (see above)
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and contact details