The turn of the Millennium is a suitable occasion to revisit the past and consider the future.
Overall the residents of Ropley appear reasonably contented, but there are significant concerns. The split in the church is one, which must (one hopes) be considered short term. It appears to be settling down into a cold war situation but there is no logical reason why it should continue blighting relations for a decade or two to come.
The lack of awareness of the facilities and organisations available for leisure and recreation is another, which can be surely overcome with management, communication and enthusiasm.
The lack of involvement in the school of the children from one third of the residents is perhaps a more insoluble problem, given the present educational system that exists in this country.
But there are other concerns where it is natural to feel that something should and could be done, but where interests conflict, and where long term trends are going to bring the conflicts into greater focus. These revolve around the dependence on the car with its great advantage (and often necessity) for getting to work, shopping, leisure, and general transport, and its inherent disadvantages of accidents, making the roads and lanes unsafe for children, for walking and riding, and problems of parking and other environmental effects. Managing the balance here between convenience and preserving what most people believe to be the real attractiveness of Ropley will be the major challenge.
Underlying this are longer term trends still, to do with patterns of work and lifestyle. There are under-used farm buildings in Ropley. Is it possible to develop these as light industrial units for some local craft employment, or as low cost housing for the young? Is there the willingness to resist the inevitable increased pressure for more "executive" housing in the village? Can the village find a place for social drinking and leisure at its centre? Is the A31 which divides the village going to become "uncrossable"?
It is the response of the community to issues like these which will determine how far the village of 2050 is from the one Grace Strong remembers of 50 years ago. A village with its own sense of community and place, or a dormitory suburb for commuting, split into separate sections by the roads. Some recommendations for managing the inevitable change to the benefit of the residents are outlined above; the question that remains is whether there is sufficient support to see them through.