Saturday, 2 April 2011

Time for a Bulkington Parish Council?

Have you been wondering what Bulkington Parish Council is doing in response to the proposals to close their village library? The answer's easy - it's doing nothing, because there is no such thing as a Bulkington Parish Council.

Despite the village having a distinct boundary and strong civic identity amongst its residents, there has not been a local council of any description around which issues affecting the village can be debated and problems solved since 1932. Just 15-odd miles to the south, the 7,500 people who live in Whitnash have their own
town council with a £90,000 budget to look after their interests, whilst the 6,500 people of Bulkington have, well, nothing.

OK, to be fair they do have a
county councillor (but who doesn't live there) and two borough councillors. But doesn't Bulkington need and deserve to have access to grassroots representatives who live amongst the people they represent, who hold public meetings locally and are accountable in a sense that someone who lives in Nuneaton and attends meetings in Warwick isn't?

It's not like Warwickshire County Council even holds a distinct Bulkington Community Forum for the people who live in the village, preferring instead to have a 'Whitestone & Bulkington' forum, as if a suburban housing estate in Nuneaton shares any of the issues and problems that a village community does.

Perhaps Bulkington doesn't want it's own council. Perhaps it thinks that the threatened library closure, the solutions to the traffic and parking problems in Chequer Street and Leicester Street, the bus services to Coventry that will be cut, and all the other issues that it will have to face up to in the coming years are best left to bureaucrats in other places, without the direct input and influence of people who have to adapt and live with the consequences of these decisions.

It's been nearly 80 years since the residents of Bulkington were served by their own local council. As the ideals of localism and civic self-responsibility come back into vogue, is it now time to ask again whether those residents can be better served with their own local parish council giving a louder voice to their interests, instead of forever being told by others what's good for them?

Over 200 new parish councils have been established across England in the last ten years, and the
National Association of Local Councils' 'Power to the People' toolkit should be the first port of call for anyone who's interested in exploring this issue further.


  1. Well done Dan!
    I'm on the same wave in this case.
    Print this blog and give it to door boxes of all residents of Bulkington.
    I'll help you.

  2. It is strange. Do you know the history of why it stopped in 1932? Clive might have a clue in the notes he's going through from Barnacle Village Hall over the years.

  3. Local government reorganisation in this country sadly only ever goes in one direction - smaller, more localised councils get merged into something bigger because of the perceived benefits of 'economies of scale'.

    Therefore, Bulkington Urban District Council lasted for 38 years from 1894, when it was consumed by Rugby Rural District Council in 1932, and then transfered into Bedworth Borough Council in 1938, where it's remained ever since (albeit as part of the amalgamation of Nuneaton and Bedworth councils that took place in 1974).