Village hopes dashed by eyesore
BACKWELL hopes to be back in the running for Village of the Year in the future if �50,000 can be found to get rid of ‘the only eyesore in the village’.
Backwell Playing Fields Charity (BPFC) has been busy fundraising to give its two car parks at the West Town Road recreation ground a makeover after competition adjudicators slated the area during its inspection earlier this summer.
The village, which won the regional accolade, awarded by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, in 1997 and 2009, enters every year and has proudly displayed the title under signs leading into it.
But it will delay entering the competition again until the cash needed to resurface the car parks has been raised.
Backwell Parish Council has agreed to give the project �7,000 a year for the next three years as long as it is matched by other fundraising efforts.
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The village’s tennis and bowling clubs, which are based at the fields, have pledged �17,000 and Bristol Airport has promised �3,000 from its community fund.
BPFC trustee Peter Lamb has also visited groups and businesses in the village in a quest to gain support and has applied for a Big Lottery grant.
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Sponsors who pledge funds will see their names put on a wooden board which will go on display at the site.
Mr Lamb said: “When the Village of the Year people came and said the car parks were our only eyesore it was devastating and that’s what motivated us and the parish council to act now.
“The scheme is actually the final part of a five-year plan to improve the playing fields prompted by vehicles invading the playing areas and causing havoc and a mess all around them.”
Large rocks and ditches were added to separate pedestrian areas from parked cars and a second play area surrounded by a dog-proof fence was created.
The charity then installed a footpath for parents with buggies and wheelchair-users and also put up fencing and gates at both sides of the fields to improve security.
It was originally quoted �80,000 for the car park work but has now chosen a cheaper alternative of asphalting the road with deep gravel used for the parking bays.
The removal of a disused building from one of the car parks is due to start within months, with the resurfacing likely to go ahead next year.