In August 2001 Councillor Margaret Turner proposed that a Village Appraisal be carried out. A public meeting was called to gauge whether there was sufficient interest in Harwell to go ahead. Many people turned out, and a Steering Group was formed.
Members of the Steering Group were made leaders of teams that investigated different subject headings. Their research identified the issues that were of most interest to the public and enabled appropriate questions to be developed for the questionnaire, which was a key vehicle for consultation. Over the following 18 months they:
- carried out a traffic survey,
- circulated the questionnaire to all people in the parish over the age of 11 and another to the pupils at Harwell School,
- set up a stand at the Harwell Feast,
- held an exhibition and a feedback meeting in the Village Hall and
- appointed a Focus Group to validate and comment upon the conclusions that they drew from their consultation and the proposals that were developed from them.
The result is an authoritative statement of what the needs and aspirations of the people of Harwell parish are. The information to be found in this Parish Plan is the most reliable that can be found anywhere. This is because they consulted everybody in Harwell and because an overwhelming majority of those people (79%) responded to the questionnaire.
The end product is a template for the future of the parish.