Halvergate Marshes

The rating given to various aspects of the village at the beginning of this report (see Table 1) is a good reference point and context for the review of opinion on Community life in the parish.

A place to live and community spirit

As we saw, Halvergate & Tunstall is highly regarded overall as ‘a good place to live’, with the main factors for this being peace and quiet, attractive countryside and a safe environment. Social and recreational facilities were also rated quite highly, though ‘Sense of local community’ is not quite so strong with 50% thinking it Good or Very Good, but a relatively high proportion at 36% being Neutral and 14% saying Poor or Very Poor.

Generating a stronger community spirit may be something people may want to work on and the findings shown by the statistics below and some of the comments taken from answers to open-ended questions give some guidance in this respect. In addition, an encouraging number of people, 27 in all, indicated their willingness to help in running community events.

Group membership and evaluation of amenities

In answer to the question “Do you belong to any society, group or team in the parish, of the 158 answers, 23% said ‘Yes’ and 77% ‘No’. Those mentioned by the few that responded to the subsidiary question “What are they?” were, in rank order: 1) Cricket Club; =2) Bowls Club and Cribbage Team; =4) Village Hall, Playing Field and PCC.

A breakdown of the actual number of users of individual local amenities is given below in Table 9 and it shows that of the 10 amenities listed for a response, the top five are Public Footpaths, Playing Field Pavilion, Red Lion, Play Area and then the Playing Field itself.

Table 9 – ‘Do you use any of these existing community amenities?’

*It can only be assumed that this figure includes those using Church or Chapel for reasons of marriage, baptism, funeral or occasional community events since the regular congregation for worship is greatly smaller than this number.

The questionnaire also gave householders an opportunity to respond in their own words to ‘If you have any reasons why you do or don’t use the above amenities or any other comment or opinion about them, please write here…’

There were 23 responses in total. Nine of these were in connection with The Red Lion pub, all indicating that although people felt it could be a good amenity for them and the village, at present they do not find what is on offer meets what they are looking for. It must be remembered that the number of responses here is too small to claim this opinion as necessarily representative of the community as a whole, and indeed a good proportion does claim to use the pub, but it is a reasonable indicator that there is some unfulfilled potential.

A further five comments were made about the Village Hall, four of which were critical in that it did not attract or suit the needs of these people. Once more, not ‘statistically significant’ and with even fewer numbers than above, but again perhaps suggesting there is interest that could be tapped.

The remaining nine remarks made were a diverse selection giving no relevant pointers.

Cricket Clubs’ sharing arrangement

In order to check broader opinion surrounding comments made at the Open Day on a topic that suggested it may have been something of a debate within the community, the statement “The ground share arrangement between two local Cricket Clubs has been beneficial to the Parish” was rated on the ‘Strongly agree’ to ‘Strongly Disagree' spectrum. The result, below, shows in fact that the community is not greatly stirred, there being a very high Neutral response but on balance with a majority supporting the proposition that the club sharing arrangement is beneficial to the Parish:


However, in the section in the questionnaire enabling respondents to give their reasons for Agreeing or Disagreeing, those in the former group were rather more vociferous than those in the latter – with 39 and 14 comments recorded respectively. In summary, those Agreeing believe the two Club arrangement means that more people come into the village, more revenue is generated, facilities are improved and the long-term future for the ground and ancillary facilities is assured – to the benefit of cricketers and spectators but also users of the Playing Field / Pavilion in general.

The trend in the comments from those fewer Disagreeing was along the lines of regretting a loss of independence – in terms of less access to the ground for other pursuits, a diminution in the local / heritage aspect of Halvergate having its own club and in fact, the eventual ‘taking over’ by the bigger, incoming club.

The 13 comments from Neutrals revolved around not being aware of any two-Club arrangement or its effect, or generally being non-users of or uninterested in sport / the playing field / cricket ground.

Other activities

Space was provided in the all-household questionnaire for people to put forward suggestions for new or additional social, sporting or support activities that they or their family would like to see happening in the parish. There was a high response to this with some 90 ideas from 60 contributors. This is a wealth of raw material for the community to work from and perhaps something with which the volunteers referred to earlier, along with those already active, can engage and/or initiate.

Issues arising from ‘COMMUNITY’

  1. Maintain access and signing to Public Footpaths.
  2. The Red Lion’s offering. As a private commercial business, clearly decisions about the future of the enterprise are for the owners/managers. However, they may be interested in some of the comments made by residents. Furthermore, it is possible both entrepreneurs and community could benefit from the ‘Pub is the Hub’ scheme from which advice and grant support may be available.
  3. Appeal of the Village Hall as a social centre and venue.
  4. More community events. Tap into the group of people volunteering to run events and refer to ideas/suggestions for such local activity put forward in the questionnaire.