Ich bin ein Commoner. One parish for Balsall Common?

Berlin had its Wall, dividing the city along the East and West. Balsall Common has the parish boundary, dividing the village along East and West. And there the similarity ends; one has long been dismantled in the interest of prosperity, harmony and peace. A unified Balsall Common awaits those who dare to try.
Balsall Parish councillor Raymond Ritchie explains all and invites you to contact Solihull Council with your views and attend the meeting next Thursday 7.30pm (29th March) at the heart of England School (details to follow early next week).


The Case for a Boundary Change


By Raymond Ritchie

Balsall Parish Council have asked Solihull MBC for a boundary review of the parishes in our area namely, Balsall Parish and Berkswell.  This is a good idea for Balsall Common village, the settlements presently in the West Ward and for the more rural parish of Berkswell.  There are five good reasons for a change:
The Balsall Common Village Plan
Such a change is recommended by the Village Plan published in 2009 and is supported by many residents in the community.  There is an argument that the identity of the settlement of Balsall Common Village itself is very distinct from the other more rural and less built-up areas in both parishes.  What a pity that the village is divided by the parish between the two parishes of Balsall and Berkswell.
Divided Community
What is the impact of this line?  Clearly it is a division within the heart of a community. So much so that whilst the Balsall parishioners enjoyed the Christmas lights switch-on and supped their mulled wine on Station Road, it looked somewhat darker up at the far end over the border.
The evidence is the impact of the different views of each council towards development and services to the community.  Although both councils fight hard to preserve greenbelt and will continue to do so, support for the new health centre within the community during the planning stage was very strong.  There was quite a difference in views between the two parishes and thankfully our new centre is near completion.
Balsall Parish council has twelve councillors and Berkswell Parish council have six.  Such is the situation of the divisive boundary that two of the councillors on the Balsall council live in the Berkswell parish.  This points to the very heart of the anomaly of the artificially divided community.  Perhaps Berkswell’s heart is split between its beautiful rural setting and environment and a chunk of a built up area?
Not withstanding the co-operation that exists between the two councils it is clear that there is a distinct lack of harmony too.  A divided village and a rural council with a divided heart cause this disharmony.  Moving the boundary to include the whole village will give the opportunity for the village of Balsall Common to be what it wants to be and for Berkswell Parish to be true to itself.  I believe this will benefit all parishioners in both parishes.
Have Your Say
Solihull Council are carrying out a consultation and are interested in your views.
You have until 2 April 2012 – Not long!
Raymond Ritchie
I am a councillor of Balsall Parish and support a boundary change.  The views expressed are my personal views and do not represent an official view of Balsall Parish Council.