The Petworth Vision steering group, was initially established in 2012, it evolved in 2015 into a Community Interest Group, with a board of directors. It is independently audited and the assets of the CIC belong to the community company. As a fundraising vehicle, the board felt this was vital to create confidence and credibility.
Petworth Vision represents the aspirations of the local community and its aims to improve the town centre both in terms of how attractive it is to visitors and also how it serves the local community. We are a voluntary organisation, that is looking to raise funds from the private, corporate and public sectors to achieve the outlined objectives in a 1-3 year time frame.
Much of our survey and study work has been fed into Petworth's Neighbourhood Plan group, a Petworth Town Council initiative under the Localism Act. The Neighbourhood Plan is producing planning policies for the next 15 years of development in Petworth, under the following areas; Housing, Getting Around, Working and Shopping, Environment Sustainability and Design, Leisure & Wellbeing. The Neighbourhood Plan will come into effect if the residents of Petworth approve it in a referendum, scheduled for late 2017/early 2018.
All want Petworth to be a safe, prosperous town and a great place to live, work and visit. One of the most pressing outcomes of this Vision will be to establish clear and effective lines of communication and an agreed action plan. Beyond that, it will then be down to establishing a series of tactical and strategic measures to move the town forward.
THE STORY SO FAR
An initial Petworth Vision Steering group comprising representatives from the Petworth Business Association, Petworth Town Council, Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council, SDNPA, Petworth Community Association and Petworth House was set up in 2013.
The group commissioned an independent consultant to produce a Petworth Town Centre Audit and CACI to produce a Petworth Market Summary.This was followed by a consultation exercise targeting residents, businesses and visitor s to gain a cross-section of opinion.
Survey forms were sent to 2,234 households and the survey was also made available to complete online. There was a response rate of 34% which is considered high for this type of consultation. Additionally, over 140 businesses were consulted with a response rate of 37%. Surveys with 200 visitors were conducted through interviews and via a touchscreen kiosk. These ideas were compiled into one single Petworth Vision document that sets out to shape the future of Petworth’s economic prospects, achieve physical improvements to the town, support local traders and improve the survival and profitability of its high street.