2012 Lancashire Best Kept Village Awards, The Villa, Wrea Green
PUBLISHED: 16:51 15 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:22 20 February 2013
It seems like the perfect Lancashire village but Wrea Green faces the same pressures as many rural communities
Whenever you ask people how many times Wrea Green has won Lancashires Best Kept Village award, you tend to get a different answer. Is it ten, or maybe 12? Certainly, its in double figures.
They missed out last year but theyd won the previous two back-to-back. One thing is for sure whatever the total was, they need to increase it by one.
For Wrea Green has done it again and the best guess is that makes it 14. The awards, supported by Lancashire Life, seem to confirm that this Fylde community is nothing short of a rural idyll.
The lush village green is one of the biggest in the county. This pretty focal point contains a pond that is home to ducks and, according to fishermen, some monster carp lurk in its depths.
Its surrounding by a mix of attractive cottages and some substantial piles.
Supportive villagers have managed to prevent the local pub from the fate that has befallen so many country hostelries, the primary school is going strong, the church is in good order and the Spar shop has some how managed to hand onto the village Post Office in the face of vicious cuts.
From the green, roads radiate containing well-groomed properties and there are streets with names that hark back to bygone days, places like Pudding Pie Nook. On its outer edge there is the Ribby Hall Village holiday complex and The Villa, venue for the awards ceremony.
They even have a tea shop run by a burly former England rugby international. No one who ever saw Wade Dooley in action would have had the thought: One day, that man will run the Dizzy Ducks tearooms in Wrea Green.
So is this the perfect village, Lancashires answer to Lake Wobegon where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average?
Not quite. It faces the same sort of pressures as all our rural communities. In fact, it is its success that creates some of that pressure.
Its such a nice place that everyone wants to live there and that attracts developers. Some say they are under siege.
Wining the award doesnt just happen it is really a tribute to the community and a few individuals who do outstanding work, says Janet Wardle, chairwoman of the parish council. People take great pride in their village and it shows.
The village is basically divided up in sectors. For instance, one group looks after the churchyard, another the village green while a third maintains the war memorial. And everyone picks up litter. When it comes to the best kept village award, we are the one to beat, adds Janet. It happened last year but we like a challenge!
Another challenge has been what seems like a constant stream of planning applications to boost the size of Wrea Green. They fought a long, hard battle to stop a sports stadium being built on their doorstep but villagers fear new housing schemes are threatening to change the character of the place.
The latest proposal is for 55 houses in an area which campaigners say has been prone to flooding. We currently have 54 houses for sale in the village so I fail to see the need, says Jane.
The scheme involves some affordable When it comes to the best kept village award, we are the one to beathouses but campaigners say that one of the cheaper properties from the last development still hasnt sold.
One of the driving forces keeping Wrea Green spick and span is the councils vice chairman Jack Dobson. He adds: We have seen villages spoiled by over-development and we dont want that to happen here.
The government is making it easier for developers and that means we are starting to feel like we are under siege. But we wont stop fighting for Wrea Green.
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Rural roll of honour
Champion Village: Wrea Green
Best Large Village: Hambleton
Best Medium Village: Mawdesley
Best Small Village: Whitechapel
Best Hamlet: Wiswell