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Snow in Gnosall

Snow in Gnosall 2017

Early in December and,as the song goes,“it
was beginning to look
a lot like Christmas” . Winter arrived early
and Gnosall and the surrounding countryside were blanketed in a thick coating of snow.

Children pulled out their sledges and took to the hills and walkers enjoyed the winter wonderland.

Village Views

New Year,so pause for a stock-take. Time to make resolutions,to chuck out any unwanted baggage,clear out the loft,ditch those personal prejudices and,above all,be open to fresh ideas. Those of us who for the best part of our lives have happily called Gnosall home are understandably selfish and want to protect what we love about the place. Our knee-jerk reaction to any suggestion of change is likely to be negative. No thanks,we like things just the way they are,thank you very much. As an incomer –it must have been around 1970 –I remember timidly venturing into The Boat Inn for a pint of Marstons. As the door closed behind me,the heads of six drinkers at the bar turned as one and dished out the cold,silent-stare treatment. Fortunately,landlord Stan Marshall didn’t regard newcomers with the same suspicion as did his regulars,and gave me a friendly welcome. The pub has been a favourite ever since. So as 2017 turns around to 2018,it’s worth reflecting on whether the passage of time has turned some of us,me included,into one of the unwelcoming NIMBYs who failed to offer a village greeting nearly 50 years ago. The reality is,it’s a bit late to adopt a Not In My Back Yard attitude. Whether we like it or not,the landscape of our village has undergone a significant shift over the past few years.

New housing estates have filled almost every empty plot,and Gnosall’s population has mushroomed,bringing hundreds of new residents,many of them two-car families …a modern day necessity for village life. We have a wonderful new academy school and an excellent new medical centre offering a range of services we can be very proud of. To grasp the scale of recent change you need only note that ‘The Surgery ’,(as some of us still call it) now looks after more than 8,000 registered patients. Gnosall is no longer a small country village. The 2011 census set the village population figure at 4,700. But a planning report from Staffordshire County Council in 2014 gave an updated estimate for Gnosall and Woodseaves at 6,500 people –just 300 less than Eccleshall which we regard as a small town. Yet when it comes to shopping,community facilities and traffic management,it is increasing obvious that Gnosall no longer meets the needs of its rapidly expanding community. This is NOT a criticism of the parish council who do a great job trying to balance calls for change against the wishes of some to maintain the status quo. The council’s proposals for a £3 million redevelopment of the Grosvenor Centre are admirable and should be supported …a plan brought forward by necessity,after prospects for a new sports centre or joint community hub proved unsuccessful. Listing what else could be achieved is easier said than done –a larger supermarket;one-way traffic in the High Street,or better still a pedestrian-only conservation area with car park off Brookhouse Road;traffic-priority controls outside The Bakery in Wharf Road;a redeveloped Memorial Hall;new development which accommodates local employment opportunities and homes for young people. Wishful thinking perhaps. But Gnosall has a justifiable reputation for its great community spirit. A New Year resolution would be to find that same level of cooperation to bring about necessary change.

Steve Torrington

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