The Kingston Parish Plan was published in November 2007, with the overall aim of maintaining Kingston as a sustainable community. The Plan is the result of an extensive village consultation, during which 80% of households from occupied homes completed a detailed questionnaire. As part of the planning process the Kingston Parish Council commissioned an independent Housing Needs Survey from the Rural Housing Enabler at the Community Council of Devon.
Both the Parish Plan and the Housing Needs Survey are available here.
An Advisory Group was set up to implement the Plan on behalf of the Parish Council and co-ordinated a number of special interest groups who took on specific projects. The Advisory Group stood down in April 2011 and passed the ongoing actions back to the new Parish Council, elected in May 2011. The Terms of Reference for the Advisory Group are available here.
The Parish Council signed off the Final Report on the Plan in January 2013. This report contains committments to future actions and remains, with the Parish Plan, a statement of Council policy.
The Final Report on Kingston Parish Plan is here.
Some key achievements:
Local Homes for Local People
The Kingston Local Lettings Plan (updated December 2011) finally went live on March 16 2009. This Plan, which has been agreed by the Guinness Trust and Tor Homes Housing Associations and the South Hams District Council, now ensures that local Kingston people have priority when housing association properties becoming available for rent in the village. The definition of ‘local’ includes those living, or who have recently lived, in the village, those with close family connections to the village and serving members of the Kingston branch of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Please note that only those who are are on the Housing Register will be eligible. The Plan operates within Devon Home Choice, If you think you have a local connection and want to apply for a house in Kingston when one becomes available, contact Cllr Hayley Swain on 01548 810896 and/or the SHDC Housing Advice Team based at Follaton House. or go directly to the Devon home choice website
The purpose of the Local Lettings Plan is to contribute to the parish aim of maintaining a sustainable village community. The success of the Plan is monitored by the organisations mentioned above and by Kingston Parish Council.
Upgrading Local Homes
Residents of Guinness Hermitage ( formerly Guinness Trust) homes expressed concerns about the cost of heating their homes. The Advisory Group worked with the Guinness Hermitage to ensure that loft insulation has been brought up to standard in all homes where residents requested it and cavity wall insulation has also been installed.
Walking in Kingston
In 2009-10 Kingston Parish Council obtained a small grant from the Big Lottery, Awards for All, to stimulate employment in the village through development of information to support and increase tourism. Free leaflets with maps and advice on a range of walks in the parish are available to download under “other- ‘Walking in Kingston tab. A short braille statement on the walks can be obtained from the parish clerk firstname.lastname@example.org An Orientation Board is available in the village centre, on the South West wall of the Reading Room.
Think Global, Act Local
Kingston now has a bottle bank, situated with the kind permission of Torr Homes in the car park off Yellands.
Play Matters in Kingston
Active Kingston, a village community group, which grew out of an initiative encouraged by the Parish Plan Advisory Group, has succeeded in replacing the ageing play equipment on the village playing field with a new far more interesting play area for younger children, an adventure trail for older children, a zipwire and a log cabin and picnic area. These facilities were opened by Devon County Council Chair Christine Marsh and Seb Genders a young village resident on Oct 23. 2010. Active Kingston has now closed down and passed its remaining assets to the Kingston Parish Council.
The project was completed by the Parish Plan Advisory Group which was successful in getting a further Big Lottery Awards for All grant to provide better/safer access to the playing field and a small car parking area, completed in May 2011.
Trees Matter Too
The village Tree Wardens are leading on a long term plan for planting trees and improving the hedgerows on the playing field in order to improve the environment and stimulate the diversity of wildlife. Children and young people in the village, with their families, planted a copse of over 300 new trees in National Tree Week, Nov 24-Dec 5, 2010,which they will look after for next few years. These trees will then be associated with their family name for as long as they survive. Tree Council funding supported this initiative and the Guinness Heritage supplied 300 bluebells More planting took place in 2011 and 2012.
Speeding in the village continues to be a problem, despite ‘slow daown’ campaigns. two speed surveys have been carried out and the speeding ‘hotspots’ identified. Drivers tend to forget that even speeds of under 20mph are dangerous on narrow lanes with blind corners. Please remember pedestrians and riders ( bike or horse) and drive with care! Discussions with DCC Highways took sometime, but in February 2014 traffic calming measures were finaslly introduced between Fourcross and Kingston Plain.
Implementing the Kingston Parish Plan