Sunday April 21 2019



In Full . . .


Posted on July 31 2016 at 1:49:23

This edition of The Village has blossomed unintentionally into a gardens special, so we hope most of you will enjoy seeing what the industrious villagers of Barnt Green and Alvechurch have been doing on their patches.

As ever, when we set out to photograph their efforts, we were in awe at the achievements seemingly ordinary people can conjure out of the dirt surrounding their homes; from the manicured lawns and blooming borders of the larger plots to the stunning creativity of the more bijou, such as Mike Dickenson’s work of art behind his terraced home in the heart of Barnt Green. We were so impressed with his that we put it on the cover of the magazine.

These are all microcosms of the pride communities take in the villages where we live and strive to create order out of the growing forces of nature and the laws of ever-increasing entropy and decay.

We see it in the efforts of our parish councils, with projects to bind communities and make them places where we can live and thrive rather than just survive.

The new bus stop murals in Alvechurch are a good example, as is that village’s current quest to tackle the feared spread of Japanese knotweed on to its land (presumably once a project in someone’s garden!)

The larger councils used to have these aims, too, until they had all their money taken away from them.

Now they resort to more creative policies, such as traffic calming by pothole rather than anything that has a monetary cost, like the much-needed pinch-point on the southern side of Alvechurch to slow the motorists who, residents say, are using the bends as a feature on their very own race circuit.

And we need to be vigilant to external threats brought by our proximity to a major conurbation and the motorway network.

There is the ever-present fear of the mess left by travellers on private and public land (why, by the way, don’t they just clean up after themselves and contribute to the communities they stay within, and make themselves welcome?), and on top of this we have seen a big increase in the insidious problem of fly tippers.

One of our correspondents has been sending pictures of regular fly tipping on Icknield Street, heading from Weatheroak towards Forhill, saying he reports the incidents to police and the district council, but neither seem interested.

The mentality of people who think a quiet green lane is the perfect place to despoil with bags of building rubbish is bad enough, but while villagers and their local representatives do their best to improve their communities, surely the least we can ask of our larger “sentinels” is that they support those efforts.

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