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Children as Planners

by Lucy McNeil – 23rd July 2014
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The three schools in Haddenham have been helping out the neighbourhood planning team this week.

They have worked together to identify the areas of Haddenham they like, the areas they think could be improved as well as what they think the future should be for Haddenham.

At a recent village planning meeting where villagers were in attendance, Mrs. Mitchener from Haddenham Community Infant School discussed with the planners that it was of paramount importance to gain a real cross section of the community and for the future, the children, to have their voices heard too.

The three schools together; Haddenham Community Infant School, Haddenham St. Mary's and Haddenham Community Junior School planned for all children to have a focus week where the children could learn about the history of Haddenham as well as looking to the future of Haddenham.

The children at Haddenham St. Mary's School sent their children out on work experience to develop their knowledge of the community whilst the children of Haddenham Community Infant School started with the official planning boards produced by the Neighbourhood team to see what was being proposed in the community. They then had a local resident speak to the children about their memories of Haddenham and how it had changed over the past thrity years, "this really gave the children food for thought" Mrs McNeil commented.

Every class produced a scrap book to help the planners know the children's point of view and how they would like Haddenham to develop over the next fifteen to twenty years. "It was really interesting to listen to what children thought about the village in which they live.

They were bothered about things such as dogs mess and would there be places to walk their dogs if lots of new houses were being built as well, the cars and volume of traffic in the village as well as the possibility of a swimming pool and more restaurants. We hope the planning team find the scrap books helpful and they consider some of the ideas and concerns the children have raised," Mrs McNeil shared.

The week culminated in a lunch meeting with members of the neighbourhood planning team where Andy Fell and Alison Watt, local residents and part of the Neighbourhood planning team spoke to the children about how important their input was. The children had several questions and comments for Andy and Alison such as "...Why do we need to change Haddenham I like it as it is?" (Milly age 7) and "...If more houses are built that will mean I will have more friends" (Arlo age 6).

It will interesting to see how this important week in schools across Haddenham feeds in to the neighbourhood plan and what he future of Haddenham will look like.

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