I have lived in this village for 16 years but my connections with it go back to 1983 when my mum and dad took over one of the two village pubs. It is a very pretty village and since I have been here house prices have risen until I understand that this is one of the most expensive villages in the county to buy in. What feels like another life time ago I had a mortgage on a house here but nasty things happened and I now rent from the local landowner, who owns much of the property round here. At first I thought when things got better I would be able to buy again locally but I have long since accepted that that is never going to happen. Obviously I am not the only person who can not afford to buy a place in this village. The young people are forced out to cheaper accommodation in the local towns. Most of the council housing is now privately owned so that option that was once available has gone. New faces move in.
Now I know that there are still in existence the attitude that you will be an 'in-comer' unless you Can prove your family links going back six generations but I don't think like that. Friendly neighbours are welcome here as far as I am concerned. What I don't like is those that move in and then contribute nothing to the local economy or community.
Taking the local school first as I really believe that without a village school a village to all extents and purposes dies. Mr Duff has asked me with reference to my previous post how I know it is an excellent school. Apparently he can not accept that my three children having attended it and me being a governor for 9 years is sufficient to give me the knowledge to state it is an excellent school. Neither is the report from OFSTED which calls us an outstanding school good enough for him so knowing I am wasting my time praising it I will however say that the children all exceed their academic potential at our school. Behaviour is excellent. There is a caring ethos. The curriculum is broad and challenging, for example all pupils learn Spanish and those over 8 do French as well. The school plays are tremendous and include parts for every child from 4-11- they did a production of Macbeth the last year my daughter was there. We contribute to the village - for example by an annual litter pick and an annual candle lit carol singing procession. We won the prize for the best primary school library in the county last academic year. We have awards for sport, have won prizes for our art and poetry and offer after school clubs to cover a wide range of interests. We are used by the County Council as an example of what small schools can achieve. And so on and so on but all this is achieved for a school with 3 classes and currently 67 pupils. We NEED every child in the village to attend the school but of course they do not and without fail it is those who move in to the village from places like London who send their kids to the private schools. I can not accept that any private school can do a better job of educating primary age children than we do.
Then this is the question of the local pubs - hub of the local community no longer. My parents pub was like the bar in Cheers - everyone knew your name. They were there for 15 years. Anyone could walk into the pub then and know they would get a warm and genuine welcome. They would be looked after. Chips or sandwiches would be handed round at no extra charge. Money was raised in the pub for various local good causes. Now however the various landlords who have come and gone - five sets now in 7 years - have been only interested in serving food. Beer drinkers were made unwelcome and got out of the habit of using the pub. Raffles which raised money for local charities were halted. It was the same story at the other village pub. On the rare occasions I go in them now I have the weird experience of knowing no one either side of the bar. The village can not support two pubs which rely solely on food so the various passing landlords move on. Don't they have any understanding that actually it makes good business sense to look after the locals? Apparently not. Some of those newer residents incidentally have never been spotted in the village pubs or in any of the village shops.
We have a very active social side of village life here. Events include a Country Fair, a village quiz league, shrove tuesday events, firework displays, mums and tots, youth club, wine tasting, a village weekend of fund raising events, an annual plastic duck race (don't ask!) and much much more. Again, some of the newer residents are never seen at any of these. Their contribution to the life of the place where they live is a big fat zero.
I honestly think I wouldn't have especially cared what these newer residents did were it not for something that happened last year. There was a proposal to build some housing association properties here to give some local people the opportunity to remain in the village. There was a public planning meeting and it was very well attended indeed. It was in fact well attended by people I had never set eyes on before. They turned out to be in professions like the law and surveying. They were very articulate. And they were very very opposed to anything that would alter the nature of the village in which they live but to which they contribute nothing. The proposal faced with such opposition from these articulate professional people was thrown out. They finally did their 'bit' for the village - and guess what? When they did their bit I hated them for it.