Moving the goalposts at Stanningfield

Clive Mears with the new bus shelter
Clive Mears with the new bus shelter
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When villagers complained about youngsters around Stanningfield’s bus shelter the parish council acted.

But instead of discouraging teenagers from gathering on the green or using the shelter as a goal, Bradfield Combust with Stanningfield Parish Council took a long view.

Gerry Biggs beneath St Nicholas Church's 14th century doom painting

Gerry Biggs beneath St Nicholas Church's 14th century doom painting

Stanningfield councillor Clive Mears said: “The parish council came to the conclusion that if you were under five you had activities and if you were over 50 there were lots — bowls, whist drives and art club.

“But for that teenage/adolescent age group there was nothing.”

Havebury Housing’s redevelopment of a street of post-war housing a few years ago had also brought more families with children into the village.

To do something about it they raised £11,500 in grants, including money from Havebury.

Stanningfield village sign includes the Gunpowder Plot in the bottom left corner

Stanningfield village sign includes the Gunpowder Plot in the bottom left corner

That has funded goalposts on the green and a new, modern bus shelter.

The final part of the project with be a ‘teen shelter’ on the green, though it is officially a ‘recreational shelter, that anyone can use.

Mr Mears said it was hoped to involve young people in putting up the shelter. If the villagers do it themselves, it saves £3,000.

The bus stop was also put up by volunteers to cut costs.

But Stanningfield is an active village for its size (just over 500 people).

Among the clubs there are carpet bowls, arts, whist and a historical society.

The village has plenty of history, too. The Grade I listed Coldham Hall was where 1605 Gunpowder plotter Ambrose Rookwood lived. He pleaded guilty and was hanged, drawn and quartered on January 31, 1606 at Westminster.

The village sign records the Gunpowder Plot link but the hall is now just as well known as home of model and clothing designer Claudia Schiffer.

St Nicholas Church is also Grade I listed but, in addition, the village has 19 Grade II listed buildings ranging from an 18th century Catholic Chapel to a 1935-design phone kiosk.

Work should start soon on replacing the village’s 14th century St Nicholas Church’s roof.

Churchwarden Gerry Biggs said they last week hit their £20,000 target, having already been given a £26,000 English Heritage and Lottery grant.

“It took about a year,” he said. “We’re really chuffed.”

The timbers on the north side of the chancel are rotting. A frost damaged buttress on the south-east side will also be replaced .