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The Projects - Bourne Valley Park 2003-2007

 The Projects

 Bourne Valley Park

About the Project
Fishing at the Park
Project Diary Phase 1
Project Diary Phase 2

Change of Name
Fun Day 2006
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 The Greenway

 Coy Pond

 Valley Ponds

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 Lagoons & Wetland

 Yellow Fish

 Use Water Wisely

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Public Consultation 2005


A phased consultation with Alderney residents was organised by Sarah Austin (Project Officer for the Bourne Stream Partnership) and Kate Mitchell (Poole’s Bourne Valley Ranger) during August and September 2005, in order to:

  • Assess the level of local interest in improvement works at Alderney Recreation Ground (Bourne Valley Park)

  • Ensure that plans progress in line with local hopes and expectations, and to

  • Meet the requirements of potential funding partners

The full report (PDF 170kb), complete with an appendix listing individual comments and notes is available for those interested. 

It is also reproduced below, without the appendix.  

The report has been circulated by e-mail to local councillors, council officers, and to a potential funding partner.


Proposals were presented that described a plan to create a wide, terraced channel carrying the Bourne Stream through the long field at the park, together with the introduction of bridges, weirs and a pond, formal and informal seating areas, footpaths and lighting.  Some recreational facilities were suggested for the lower field with the aim of stimulating further discussion and residents’ own ideas.


Approaches to residents were as personal and as informal as possible:

I.         9th, 12th & 17th August: an informal user consultation was carried out at the park during the school holidays, on hot & sunny days.  A total of 11 hours was spent over the three-day period. Very few people were seen to be using the park.  In order to ensure that only current users were reached at this stage, the consultation was not publicised, and it might be assumed that the low level of usage is the norm, reducing further during term time and inclement weather.

II.        Questionnaire:  a ‘pilot’ questionnaire was handed to those adults met on site during August (above) but due to the low volume of users the questionnaire was later also distributed to 100 residents in the Evering & Manor Avenue area.  It was originally intended that it would soon be distributed more widely, but it is now believed that those not yet engaged, i.e. residents of Bourne Estate and the outer ‘catchment’ (some 9,000 homes in total) might be more difficult to reach at this early stage, and unlikely to respond to a questionnaire.  Their views will be sought by other methods.

III.       12th – 14th September: a consultation with residents was held at the Rossmore Library & Learning Centre, Herbert Avenue.  The event was publicised through the use of posters at all access points to the park and on surrounding streets, at community centres, toddler groups, schools, the local GP surgery, the Library & Leisure Centre.  Notices were sent to the existing e-mailing list, and by letter to those who had already responded to the questionnaire.  A6 fliers were distributed to the students at Manorside and St Josephs RC Schools, and left at the Library and GP surgery.  The event was also advertised on the Partnership’s website (the project web page was visited by 81 internet users in the 10-day period leading up to and during the consultation).

Residents were invited to meet with Kate and Sarah upstairs at the library during various set hours (3.5 hours on each of the three days) ranging between 9.00am and 7.00pm.  The consultation was informal, with proposals illustrated on a range of A3 & A4 laminated sheets, and described on a personal basis by either Kate or Sarah; any concerns expressed were noted and addressed.  Contact details have been retained to keep residents up-dated with progress.


I.          Just 25 users were interviewed at the on-site consultation, 14 of them (56%) under the age of 16.

II.         Response to the pilot questionnaire reached 48%.  A further nine questionnaires have been received back since the public consultation (a supply was made available).

III.        Forty-seven people attended the consultation in the library and/or responded in some other way (via phone or email) to the proposals; some of these had also completed questionnaires.

The views of 95 residents (81 adults, 14 young people) have been collected thus far.


Findings are grouped by ‘young people’ and ‘adults’. Young people’s comments were noted during conversations on site.  There are too few for any meaningful analysis, and so they have simply been transcribed in an abbreviated form and attached as part of a six-page appendix (available in the PDF document above).

Below are the responses from a total of 57 questionnaires returned, which simply asked residents about their use of the site and then to score various proposals from 1-5 in terms of “improving your personal use & enjoyment of the space”:

Responses from the questionnaire (adults)

Age Group of respondents

70% are aged 55+, i.e.

38% aged 55-64 yrs

32% aged 65+

No response from residents between 25-55 yrs

Just one response from the 16-24 yrs age group.

Usage – frequency

On average 6.8 times a week

Usage – purpose

45% for dog walking

42% for informal or family recreation

12% use the park to reach shops, library etc

How much would these proposals increase your personal use and enjoyment of the park, on a scale from 1-5:

Proposal (in order of preference)

Score (mean)

Creation of a terraced stream channel with informal seating, weirs and pond

4.4 out of 5

Creation of formal seating areas with litterbins

4.3 out of 5

Installation of lighting along footpaths/cycleways

3.8 out of 5

Improved signage and access (a) for pedestrians/cyclists

3.7 out of 5

Creation of dual-use footpaths/cycleways along and across the space

3.5 out of 5

Improved signage and access (b) for vehicles, with provision of car parking

2.8 out of 5

Recreational facilities were proposed based on the previous consultation with young people:

Children's Play Park[1]

Small fishing lake

Rugged Wooden Outdoor Fitness Trail

Six-a-Side Football Pitch

Cycling Challenge Circuit






Four recurring themes have been pulled from comments taken from the questionnaire distributed to residents, and from the consultation, and they can be summarised as:

1.  Good local interest in and support for the project overall; the response rate to the “pilot” questionnaire (48%) is particularly encouraging.

2.  A belief that whatever is achieved is likely to be spoiled by vandalism without proper policing, either by a full-time park warden or by a more reactive Police response;

3.  Widespread concern about vehicular access (mainly related to travellers);

4.  A wish for something to be done about the use of motorcycles and mini motos on the site, coupled with the realisation that only Police action will have a bearing on such behaviour;

A good number of those attending the library consultation would have liked a discussion on the future of the Pavilion; it was explained that this was not in our remit.

All comments have been transcribed (and abbreviated) and are attached as a six-page appendix to the full report.

Conclusion & Future Work

There is a high level of support for the proposals from those that have shown an interest, coupled with some serious and widespread concerns involving anti-social behaviour and misuse of the site.

Consultation with such a small sample of residents, particularly young people, fails to provide us with statistically significant or particularly reliable data; ideally further work would include a school project designed to have children developing findings so far and involving parents and grandparents in a vision-building exercise.  It is hoped that such involvement will also promote a sense of inclusion and ‘ownership’.

In the meantime, we will continue to communicate updates to those residents already involved in the process, and make efforts to engage more by ad hoc methods.  This would include, for instance, conversing with people on site whenever possible, and during term time interviewing those parents/carers and children using the Safe Route to School that crosses the park.

[1] The scoring for the Children’s Play Park (4.3 out of 5) reflects the views of only nine respondents who have returned a late version of the questionnaire available at the public consultation in the library; a play park was not an option offered in the pilot questionnaire but proved to be a popular ‘other facilities to consider’ with respondents to the pilot.

Sarah Austin, 3rd October 2005

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