Who We Are
The Berkswell Society was originally formed in 1973 as the residents’ association for Berkswell Parish. In the 1980’s it lead a fight to stop a coal mine being developed in the parish, a fight that was won.
In 2015/16 it lobbied for improvements to the planned HS2 by presenting its case to a House of Commons Select Committee and a key Solihull Council committee. Again the Society met with success obtaining legal Assurances for better noise mitigation, improvements to new road bridges to include footpaths, improved viaduct design and protection of some of the trees on the Kenilworth Greenway.
Today, the Berkswell Society is a not for profit organisation working to preserve and improve the area in which we live and generally do “stuff” for the benefit of the community.
We have a constitution......somewhere. However, we think we should be judged by what we do rather than what we say. Some descriptions of us include:-
The gardening arm of the parish council
A group that does things that the Borough and Parish
Council would like to do but cannot do on their own at reasonable cost
Fund raisers for charity
A critical friend of the parish council. Supporting it, making suggestions and asking for change.
Providing a newsletter to keep local people informed
A name under which residents can unite to make their bit of Berkswell Parish better
A way that people can contribute to society doing as little or as much as they feel able to do
The distributors of the Bugle community magazine outside of Balsall Common.
We are all of these. A practical Society of residents which identifies where we can make a difference, what our members and the parish residents are interested in and then get stuck in.
We have about 250 members across the Parish of which about 100 of whom help out practically with physical activities.
The remainder take our newsletter to keep up to date with things that are going on. Some people are very active for a while, become readers of our newsletter when priorities change and then start being active again.
Some help out anywhere in the parish and some might plant bulbs in their local area. We are all kinds of people doing all kinds of things.
Of course the Society does have a constitution and takes its financial responsibilities very seriously. Our constitution, minutes of our meeting and accounts can be found in the administration section HERE
Many years ago money was raised to fight a coal mine. Not all of it was spent at the time. Coal is now dead because of its environmental impact. Therefore, the Society invested the remaining money carefully and spends the return on our community activities.
We have received regular funding from the parish council for plants and bulbs
We have similarly received regular funding from the Berkswell Charities (a local charitable trust)
We have also received specific funding for projects from the Bugle (the community magazine) and Kinorigo Ltd. Solihull Borough Council also help with projects, regularly providing bulbs and sometimes more substantial help.
We are very grateful to all those that have supported us.
The Society was born to oppose a coal mine. It obviously could not stop HS2 but when the challenge arose, the Society looked to convince the “powers that be” to undertake further mitigation.
The Society worked with the parish council and Solihull Council and also petitioned both the House of Commons and House of Lords for improvement.
As a result HS2 Ltd gave legal assurances for improved noise mitigation, minimising the felling of trees on the greenway, pavements on two new bridges and for the HS2 viaduct near the station designated for a special design process rather than a standard structure with a view to minimising its visual impact as far as is practical.
Regrettably, many residents do not consider that HS2 Ltd have lived up to their commitment given to protect trees close to the greenway contained in their agreement with Solihull Council dated 25th January 2015.
Solihull Council have been lobbied to ensure that HS2 Ltd meet their commitment on the design of the viaduct.
We understand that after some considerable recent discussion, HS2 have now agreed with Solihull Council that the viaduct design will not be a standard design.
Amazing given they gave such a commitment in writing almost 10 years ago.
Suggestions on how the design could be made to fit better with the local situation have been made to Solihull