West Row aiming for award in county-wide competition

West Row has made it through to the county rounds of the Suffolk Village of the Year competition. ''Pictured: Michael Peachey (Chairman of the West Row village hall and playing field association), John Smith and Rosalind Hamill (Parish Councillor) ANL-150623-201511009
West Row has made it through to the county rounds of the Suffolk Village of the Year competition. ''Pictured: Michael Peachey (Chairman of the West Row village hall and playing field association), John Smith and Rosalind Hamill (Parish Councillor) ANL-150623-201511009
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Community leaders in West Row are asking for help from residents to spur the village on in a county-wide competition.

Earlier this week it was announced the village had made it through to the county round of the prestigious Suffolk Village of the Year competition, after being voted number one in Forest Heath.

Judges praised it as a ‘forward-thinking village’ with a good community spirit and a ‘vast range of activities’.

Cllr Rosalind Hamill, parish councillor for West Row ward, said: “We have such a community spirit here which is what I think the competition is about. Bottling that and showing it to an outsider is the hardest part, but we obviously did it.

“We have a lot of people wanting to move here, to send their children to our school, and we have a thriving church and chapel which give a lot back to the village.

“We’re quite a large village in acreage and are quite stretched out. We are lucky to have the two focal points of the village hall and the church.”

The news comes alongside growing momentum to help West Row become an independent parish, severing its current parish council ties to Mildenhall.

To get the process off the ground West Row residents would have to agree to a Community Governance Review, which would assess the capability of the village to become an independent parish and may lead to a referendum.

Cllr Hamill said: “There has been quite a ground swell in the village about it. but this is just putting a toe in the water.

“Even if people say, let’s go for the review, the next step would depend on the review’s outcome. That is only the first stage.

“We want to get a panel of people to answer the serious questions, who can give actual facts rather than basing everything on hearsay.”

There will be a public meeting on Wednesday, July 8 to discuss requesting a Community Governance Review.

In advance of the next stage of Village of the Year competition, expected to take place at the end of July, Cllr Hamill is appealing for help from residents to create a display board to present to judges.

Anyone who runs a club or activity is asked to help out by sending in photographs of the club and their particular activity.

The group is also planning a meeting next month to promote the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the village.

Cllr Hamill added: “If anybody in West Row can help towards this competition, we’re asking them to get in touch with us.”

If you’re interested in helping out, contact Cllr Hamill on 01683 715329.