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Border skirmish escalates

Posted on August 21 2010 at 2:48:37

The absence of a Blackwell sign on Greenhill

A boundary dispute between two villages has led to a standoff over a new “Welcome” sign.

The new “Blackwell” sign was installed at the bottom of Greenhill in May by Worcestershire County highways department after a request from Lickey & Blackwell Parish Council, which paid around £300 for the service.

As reported in The Village in June, there were signs then of trouble ahead as residents of Burcot, who say the sign is in their village, sought talks with the neighbouring parish.

Now the new sign has disappeared, as has the old “Blackwell” sign which had been near the top of Greenhill for many years.

The events echo those on the other side of Lickey & Blackwell ten years ago when a new parish sign on Twatling Road welcoming people to Lickey was removed after people who believed they lived in Barnt Green protested that it would devalue their homes.

This time, however, the parish council appears to be holding its ground. A spokesman said the old sign had been removed for maintenance by the parish lengthsman, but it would not need to be replaced if the new sign at the bottom of Greenhill was reinstalled.

He added: “We are carrying out a review of the gateways to the whole parish and we had the new sign put in a place we thought was ideal. We paid for it, it is our sign and we are just reviewing the situation at the moment to see what has happened. We don’t understand why the county council has become involved in parish affairs. It is a big fuss about nothing.”

County councillor Emma Moffett confirmed she had asked the highways department to remove the new sign after she received complaints about it.

“Parish councils do not mark their boundaries because they can run right through villages. They are not the same as villages, which can be much more historic,” she explained.

Coun Moffett said the sign should not have been installed, adding: “The county council does not mark parish council boundaries and parish councils do not need to mark their boundaries.

“The parish council was given a lot of time to have the new Blackwell sign removed, so we said ‘We will remove it for you’.”

Meanwhile, Coun Moffett said “it would be very appropriate” for the parish to reinstall the old Blackwell sign near the top of Greenhill.

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