Being around nature can promote both our mental and physical health. This includes contact with the natural environment through ‘green spaces’ such as parks and woodlands. Studies have found that health and well-being are consistently higher for those who spend 120 minutes or more per week in nature, and this persists into older age.
In this context, a small project group are pushing forward with creating a new community green space for Chilton. The proposed location is an area on Thame Road, opposite Princes Close, which had served as a playground (known as ‘CHIPs’) in the past. We thank Chilton Home Farms Ltd. for agreeing to lease this land once again for this purpose.
A recent survey for residents to have a say in what they’d like to see in this green space had 35 responses in total, and there was strong support for proposals to include benches, picnic tables and playground equipment; see a summary below.
The project group thanks Frances Stacey for developing the survey.
There were also several other proposals put forward that will now be considered in the next phase of the project, these have been themed and summarised below with responses from the project group:
- Access to the proposed location – The project group agree that the existing access, via steps, is not suitable and the current plan will be to enable step-free access to the site.
- Sight lines – The project group agree that the existing sight lines to the proposed location are not ideal and are working on proposals to remove some of the vegetation that sits in front of the space.
- A MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) – The project group agree this would add value to the village, however currently remains out of scope the green space. The rationale is based, in part, on costs of a full MUGA being out of budget. However, equipment and facilities for older children to be able to play ball games are being considered for inclusion in the plan.
- Memorial Hall/Poachers Pocket – The Chilton Community Green Space project is separate from this and, therefore, would be out of scope; this would not meet the criteria of a green space. As covered in the Annual General Meeting of Chilton Parish Council on 25th May 2023, if residents would like to form a working group to take on the management of the Memorial Hall/Poachers Pocket, then please contact .
- Meeting Rooms/Village Hall/Hut/Kitchen/Shop/Café/Bar – These are all out of scope for the Chilton Community Green Space project as they would not meet the criteria of a green space. The proposed land is also not licensed for these uses.
- Toilet – As things stand, there is no water supply to the site, and a public toilet facility is not a common option across local villages near their respective community green spaces.
- Dogs – This is to be confirmed but will be considered by the project group.
- A noticeboard – There are already two Chilton Parish village noticeboards, one in the bus shelter and one by the bowls green; therefore, a third noticeboard is not currently being considered for this location by the project group.
- Traffic/Safety – The project group agree that the proposed location, in its current form, has limitations from a road safety perspective. However, the recent introduction of the Community Speed Watch and the installation of a new Moving Vehicle Activated Sign has seen extremely positive results, with a reduction from 25% speeding to just over 2% when the Speed Watch group is out recording. There are also other projects, outside the green space, such as installing village gates that are aimed to improve road safety. The green space project will also include further adjustments to the site access, installation of additional road signage and improvements to the crossing point in order to reduce risk.
- Location too small – The project group completed an options appraisal on all potential land that could be used for the Chilton Community Green Space project and this was deemed the preferred option. There is no council-owned land within the Parish. Once the proposed site is cleared of the vegetation, we will advise and then encourage residents to visit the land to see the land being made available.
The next phase of the Chilton Community Green Space project will be to get the proposed site cleared and continue to apply for grants to fund the project.