WELL over nine out of ten Felpham residents want to see the village’s public spaces maintained.
A near unanimous total of 97.54 per cent of those who answered a parish council survey said they wanted to keep the spaces’ open aspect.
The proportion in favour of the green open space with Bognor Regis being kept was almost as high – at 96.75 per cent.
Similarly, those who believed no new homes should be built until the drainage problems in the village had been solved came to 95.34 per cent.
The overwhelming support for the issues came in an impressive response rate of 1,114 forms – equal to 22 per cent.
Cllr Glenn Powell heads the parish council’s neighbourhood plan committee which carried out the survey as part of its work to decide the plan’s contents.
“The response was well in excess of what we anticipated,” he told October’s meeting of the parish council. “It shows interest in the area.
“The responses are excellent and we will look at the process we go through as a result of that and how that will affect the different policies we will have in the neighbourhood plan.”
Cllr Powell said the survey’s only disappointment was the lack of comments from those younger than 29. But links had been set up with Felpham Community College which was keen to involve its pupils in setting out their ambitions for the area.
“The survey is only part of a relatively long-term consultation starting in March 2012 and a well-attended meeting last November. All these are building up to the final plan,” he said.
The survey contained 36 questions. Others which provoked a strong response included the 73.64 per cent of villagers who backed a 20mph speed limit on the area’s roads.
The lower maximum speed would apply to all publicly-maintained roads in Felpham except for Felpham Way, Flansham Lane and Middleton Road. These would be excluded under traffic law.
Improved pavements were supported in 89.30 per cent of responses and 83.75 per cent backed the need for more cycleways.
The draft neighbourhood plan will detail residents’ views about the future of Felpham until 2029.
It is set to go to an independent examination next March before it is put to a public referendum in May or June next year.
Cllr Ros Kissell said the lengthy timescale of the document meant it was important to take into account the views of younger residents.
“Those who are 20/30 now will be 40 or 50 by the end of the plan. So, we will have to anticipate their needs,” she said.
Parish council chairman Cllr Paul English described the reaction to the questionnaire as ‘quite incredible’.