Community Engagement

Community Engagement

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Workshop
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Information Centre

Combe Down Stone Mines Steering Group and Combe Down Stone Mines Community Association

Once the Land Stabilisation Programme was formed by central government and initial funding was received, the Council felt that a single group should be set up to represent the residents and help counter the divisions in opinion that had occurred in the past in the village over the best way of stabilising the mine.

The Combe Down Stone Mines Community Association

The Combe Down Stone Mines Community Association (CDSMCA) was set up in 2000 as an independent limited company to represent the Combe Down community. The Association was led by a Board of Directors, consisting of nine elected members, two Council members and two representing local businesses, with an independent chairman. Early on there were 700 members of the association, although the numbers reduced over time.

The aims of the Board were to work with the Council on the successful stabilisation of the mines, thus removing risk to life and property, the removal of mortgage and insurance restrictions on properties, the avoidance of contamination, and the protection of the bats and the water outflow.

The work of the Board of the Association consisted of critically examining all proposals, ensuring that residents were as fully protected as possible with regard to legal and insurance matters, and keeping residents informed. This was mainly through monthly public meetings, attended by engineers and members of the Project Team. As the scheme progressed and people's anxieties were allayed, attendance at the public meetings declined.

At this time a Combe Down Stone Mines Steering Group was set up by the Council that included representatives from the CDSMCA, as well as statutory and non-statutory stakeholders and the funders.

Relieved that the Treasury, through English Partnerships, was prepared to fund the project, the community accepted that it could expect inconveniences over several years, the greatest of which was the loss of 70% of the Firs Field recreation area. In fact, these inconveniences were much less of a problem than was feared, due partly to the careful application of some 58 planning conditions, and partly to the excellence of the contractor, Hydrock, and effective communications of the Combe Down project team.

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Information Centre

Throughout the stabilisation the Council's project team operated an Information Centre in the village. For most of the project this was located in the centre of Combe Down, close to the deli, newsagent and Co-op. Members of the project team were on hand several times a week to answer residents' queries and various documentation relating to the project was available for people to read, including minutes from public meetings and planning papers. Maps showing the progress of the works were displayed both inside and in the window so people could keep up to date even when the centre was closed.

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