Posted by: westlancashirerecord | March 12, 2017

Lancashire Best Kept Village Competition 2017

Fly tipping, the scourge of our times, was never more obvious than to see a dumped mattress on the pavement of Winifred Lane in Aughton this morning, and then a WLBC waste lorry stopping to take it away no doubt at enormous cost on our council tax.

The forthcoming Aughton Parish Council meeting will “consider entry and approve fee” for the Best Kept Village Competition 2017. It’s a competition supported by: The Villa, Wrea Green; Lancashire Life; Lancashire Association of Local Councils; Ribble Valley Borough Council; Several Lancashire County Councillors. Town Green won the Large Village Class in 1996 . It was in the days when we all remember how the then district council looked after the Town Greens and grass verges, alas now all neglected due to austerity although we did get rid of the white van!

So How much will it cost us? “Large & Medium Villages are charged £25 each to enter the competition & Small Villages & Hamlets are charged £15, but this fee is not enough to cover running costs, or to provide prizes. We rely on generous sponsorship to continue with the competition”.

Who can enter? Parish Councils, Residents’ Associations, Village Hall Committees, Women’s Institutes or any other organisation that can get the support and involvement of the rest of the village.

How does the village enter? Competition details and entry forms are sent out in January each year to known contacts (usually Parish Council clerks). The judges will take the following into consideration:

1) An absence of weeds and litter, on roads, verges and hedges etc. [We might struggle here]
2) Well cared for private properties, including the condition of grounds, hedges, walls, garages and other outbuildings.
3) Maintenance and tidiness of community buildings such as village halls, their car parks and railings & other public monuments such as war memorials.
4) Cleanliness of bus shelters and telephone kiosks.
5) Well maintained open spaces, playing fields and children’s play areas.
6) Condition of commercial premises and shops, including window displays and signs
7) Maintenance of all places of worship, churchyards, cemeteries and grounds.

All private property and schools will be judged from the road or footpath. The judges may take a closer look at public buildings and their surrounds but will not enter any property. The absence of any of the features listed will not penalise the village. A calculation will be made, taking account of any features that are absent, and the final marks will be adjusted accordingly.

Our parish council might spend £25 of our circa £102,000 parish precept balances carried forward on this entry, but without becoming active on the real improvements necessary to remove the weeds and litter on roads, verges and hedges, and the ignored and poorly maintained open spaces left in the hands of the borough council we won’t be displaying another winners award this year.

Another agenda item might well be timed to assist the best village bid, “Litter collection – to approve the purchase of a small trailer/tow bar for Parish Park-keeper ” . What’s wrong with a plastic bag and a litter-picker ? Or Team Wally ?

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