At last month’s meeting, councillors discussed the possibility of changing the name of Shilton Parish Council to reflect the fact that the council covers both Shilton and Barnacle villages. There was a unanimous view that the idea of adopting the new name of 'Shilton & Barnacle Parish Council' was something that should be looked into further, and in particular there should be consultation with the residents of the parish to see if they also wished the name to be changed.
It’s not completely clear why it was originally called ‘just’ Shilton Parish Council, although my suspicion is that when it was created in 1895, it only covered the Shilton village area, with Barnacle being included within Bulkington’s local government structures. At some point in the past (and my best guess is April 1938), Barnacle was merged into the parish, but the original name was retained.
The two obvious questions are: Why change now? And does it really matter one way or the other? For me, the reasons for formally including Barnacle in the name of its local council are about helping to raise the profile and awareness of the village amongst the outside world, and to give the residents of Barnacle more of an involvement and stake in their local council.
Whilst a name is only a name, it does indicate the community that’s being represented, and it’s right that Rugby Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire Police and other official bodies know that the parish council is speaking on behalf of Shilton and Barnacle. It’s also hoped that a name change gives the people living in Barnacle more of a sense that the parish council is their parish council.
Changing from Shilton to Shilton & Barnacle isn’t going to change the world. It’ll still be the same councillors, trying to sort out the same problems, with the same amount of money available. But for me, it’s a further step in a process to update and improve the parish council, making it more relevant, responsive and representative of the area it covers.
Parish councillors now want to know what you think. Do you agree that the name should be changed to include Barnacle? There’ll be an article in the next edition of BASIS asking for views, and if there is no significant objection, the parish council will be asking Rugby Borough Council (who has the actual power to change the name of a council) to formally make the change requested.
It would be great if as many people as possible gave their views, so please vote on the top right hand side of this blog, leave a comment at the end of this post, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the council’s Facebook or Twitter pages. The consultation will run until the end of August, and then the parish council will consider the matter again at its meeting on 4 September.
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