The survey was undertaken following a parish council meeting on 4 January, where Aylesbeare Parish Council asked over 100 residents present, what they thought of a proposal for 50 houses for the village.

Parish councillors will make a final decision about housing numbers at the parish council meeting on Monday evening (20 February).

The proposal for 50 houses had been submitted to East Devon District Council’s Local Plan process last year, based on a previous survey undertaken around five years ago.

But residents at the parish council meeting on 4 January, which became heated at times, cast doubt on the interpretation of the survey data and overwhelmingly did not support the level of development proposed by Aylesbeare Parish Council.

This led to a commitment from the parish council to carry out a further survey of the entire parish and request to East Devon District Council to allow more time for a formal submission to be made.

With a holiday already booked, parish council chairman, Ken Chun had no choice but to leave the organisation of this significant piece of work, to his vice-chairman, John Ayres, who joined the parish council last May.

In a mammoth community effort, the questionnaires, designed by Aylesbeare Parish Council, were swiftly drawn up and hand-delivered to over 230 houses in the parish over the space of two weeks, which includes the rural hamlets of Rosamundford and Perkins Village.

The questionnaires were then collected by hand, with some volunteers going back several times to make sure they caught residents at home. 

Juliet Muir, a resident with an expertise in data analysis, then set to work using a combination of Microsoft Access and Excel to carry out the number crunching analysis. 

There was an overall response rate of 76 per cent from residents, rising to an 87 per cent return from people living inside the built-up area boundary (the core village).

The results showed that over half of residents (51 per cent) supported either no further housing growth or up to five houses.  Around 35 per cent of residents wished to see no development at all.

Overall, the data reveals that residents have opted for an average increase of five houses over the next 15 years.

Well done to Aylesbeare Parish Council for responding to the strength of feeling at the parish council meeting on 4 January and carrying out such a huge piece of work so quickly.  And to all the volunteers for stomping around the village in the depths of winter.  And well done also to Juliet Muir for analysing the results so quickly.

The survey results can be viewed here Aylesbeare Parish Council housing survey – February 2012

The subject will be debated – and a final decision made – at the Aylesbeare Parish Council meeting on Monday (20 February), starting at 7.30pm. 

By Friday teatime a resume of the survey will be delivered to everyone’s house, in time for Monday’s meeting.

Members of the public will be able to speak at the beginning of the meeting.