AN AGE-OLD tradition is being resurrected in Lavant to give residents the chance to have their say about potential development sites and the areas that need protecting in their village.
A ‘Beating of the Bounds’ will take place on September 6, and see local councillors and residents walk the perimeter of the village and help make decisions which will shape the future of where they live.
The event is being organised as part of the Lavant neighbourhood plan and comes in the wake of the release of the Joint West Sussex Minerals Local Plan, which identifies Lavant as a potential site for a gravel pit.
Caroline Reynolds from Lavant neighbourhood Pplan steering group said: “Given that so many areas around Chichester are being put under unsustainable, and in many cases almost intolerable, pressure, neighbourhood plans are becoming more and more valuable.
“Many villages are in the process of putting together neighbourhood plans and it is really important that the communities know the plans are not just boring bits of administration, but are real opportunities to have some control over the unavoidable future development of this green and pleasant bit of Sussex.”
The ‘Beating’ will take the form of a guided walk through the village to identify and record comments which will be gathered to help form the recommendations that will go into the referendum, which is the basis of the final neighbourhood plan.
An ancient tradition, the beating of the bounds began as a way of asserting the parameters of a parish when maps were rare and would see young and old, usually led by the parish priest and church officials, share the knowledge and bless their land.
Young and old are again being invited to take part in Lavant’s 21st-century beating, which takes place on Saturday September 6 at 10am.
Describing the event, historian and Lavant resident Andrew Berriman said: “Tempting as it is to climb over fences and trample over fields in order to re-trace the parish boundaries, in 2014 we have to be sensible and September’s ‘Beating’ will follow the perimeter of the main Lavant settlement area.
“Along with the rest of the Chichester area, there is pressure on Lavant’s green and pleasant places; having a neighbourhood plan means the residents of Lavant can have some say and control over the future development of Lavant.
“This Beating of the Bounds is a circular route along footpaths between nine waypoints.
“The starting point is next to St Nicholas’ between 10am and 11.30am; the finish is at the allotments – a total distance of about 3.5 miles. At each viewpoint there will be a short description of the area and comments about the present use.”