Chairman’s Report 2014-5

At the Annual General Meeting, held on 13 May 2015, Chairman of the Parish Council, Frank Bunce, delivered his annual address.

Here is his message:

Bickenhill Parish Council was one of the earliest Parish Councils to be created in the late 1800s, since then there have been many changes…

All those years ago St Peters church in the village of Bickenhill was very much the central point for parish activities. What is now Marston Green was then known as Marston Culy, a very small part of the Parish with just a few farms and farm workers cottages. Things have moved a long way since those times, today Marston Green represents more than ninety percent of the parish with more than 2500 homes.

For some time the parish council have been considering a name change that reflects the major part that the four wards of Marston Green play in the parish, but at the same time Council recognised we must not lose our proud history and association with the village of Bickenhill.

After much deliberation Council decided to start the name change process, first of all we sent a consultation letter to all our residents with the new suggested new name, that being Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council. The response from both villages was over 90% in favor of the change. We then had to get approval from SMBC, this done we then commissioned an agency to submit ideas for our new image. The design chosen features the two iconic clocks of the two village’s, one The Clock tower on St Peters Parish church in Bickenhill, two the Marston Green clock situated in the Garden of memory. This would be under scored with two contours one represents the hill in Bickenhill the other the Green in Marston Green.

I think it’s important to say the costs of this exercise were well within budget, the design studios costs were donated to the parish and as we were due to purchase replacement uniforms, advertising boards and stationary the name change has not been a major cost to the Parish.

Over the last twelve months the Parish council has addressed a number of issues that fall into two categories the past the present.

Let me start with the past, by looking back to the commemoration of a 100 years since the start of World War 1.

The council wanted to give the parish residents an opportunity to participate in the national commemoration but in their own villages, a number of events were arranged over a three day period at the beginning of august 2014 culminating in a service at St Peters in Bickenhill and dedication in the garden of memory in Marston Green to remember those who gave their lives for our future. The council unveiled a special memorial bench in the memorial garden to commemorate the occasion.

Looking now at the present, the council recognizes the importance of social media and now operates a face book page. Council feels it is important that issues affecting the Parish i.e. Planning, Policing, parking and roads should be accurately recorded and want our residents to have the facts rather than an individual’s interpretation on social media. Our face book page will be up dated weekly.

The Parish council over the last few years has taken over the planting and care for the large troughs by the shops in Station road. The Parish Council is also responsible for the planters in the burial ground all the troughs at the entrances to Marston Green and the formal Gardens in The Garden of Memory and the pleck

For many years the Parish Council has sponsored the Gardening Club to plant up the hanging baskets in the village, we used to have 36 baskets but due to health and safety and parking issues the number is down to 23 and will be reduced further this year. As this situation has diluted the visual effect of the baskets we have decided not to continue with this format. Instead we will be purchasing thirteen columns that each hold two hanging baskets the columns will be placed in the garden of memory 8 columns and the pleck 5 columns. We will sponsor the gardening club to prepare the 26 baskets in their new situation.

The Parish Council feel that this will enhance our village with a wonderful display of flowers through the summer months.