Noticeboard row rumbles on

A HEATED row over a village noticeboard has resulted in the setting up of a new body, which meets for the first time on Thursday, July 24.The Debenham Society has been formed in the wake of the storm of protest which followed a decision to replace the old village noticeboard with a new structure.

A HEATED row over a village noticeboard has resulted in the setting up of a new body, which meets for the first time on Thursday, July 24.

The Debenham Society has been formed in the wake of the storm of protest which followed a decision to replace the old village noticeboard with a new structure.

Critics of the green pillar-shaped board claimed it was out of keeping with the village and would be more at home in continental Europe. Some went further, likening it to a French "pissoir" or urinal.

Those involved in setting up the new civic amenities society are strongly against siting the structure on the village green and hope that following a consultation process about its future it will be moved elsewhere.


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"That was the starting point because it really is an eyesore and totally inappropriate for a village centre like this. The extraordinary thing is the telephone kiosk is listed, and for this the parish council don't even need any form of planning consent," said Andrew Grant-Adamson, temporary secretary of the group.

But members of the embryonic new group, which they plan to affiliate to the Civic Trust, say they don't intend to be a one-issue society, although they are committed to the removal of the board from the conservation area.

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"The parish council are planning a consultation of it. Where that will go we don't know but obviously we will be active during that," said Mr Grant-Adamson. "Of course, one of the things we need to do is to make sure that everyone in the village is fully aware of the consultation and actually thinks about what an eyesore this is on the village scene."

They say they want to protect the look of the village, and that by forming such a society they will be following the example of outstandingly important Suffolk villages such as Clare and Lavenham.

So far about 30 people have been to meetings about setting up the society and more than that have shown an interest in joining.

Chris McAleer, temporary chairman of the group, said: "The village is the way is it because of a lack of money. It was originally built in the good times and it stayed the way it is because people did not have the money to rebuild. There are buildings here going back 600 or 700 years. If too much money becomes available it can ruin a place within a very short space of time."

Mr Grant-Adamson stressed they were not against change.

"I think it would be wrong to think it was a group of people who want to pickle the place and use it as a specimen," he said. "It will change. It's bound to as it always has done. It's making sure that change is done well."

The Debenham Society will hold its inaugural meeting at Dove Cottage at 8pm on Thursday, July 24. It is open to all.

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