Evercreech pupils hold democratic vote to choose local road name
Reception to Year 6 pupils at Evercreech Church of England Primary School in Evercreech, near Shepton Mallet, have taken part in a real-life democratic vote which will affect their local community forever.
The vote was to decide on the name of the new road for leading social housing provider Stonewater’s new 30-home affordable housing development, off Maesdown Road, due for completion in April next year.
The youngsters, aged four to 11, came up with more than 90 names, including some unusual ones like Pixie Hollow and Happy Road. Their eight favourites were then presented to Evercreech Parish Council via an elected School Council representative from each class and a shortlist selected of: Apple Way, Chestnut Lane and Blossom Road. Members of the School Council, the Parish Council and Mendip District Council then voted in a secret ballot to choose the winning name – Chestnut Lane – overseen by Mendip District Councillor Peter Bradshaw.
“This road-naming event was a great way to give the children a hands-on lesson in how democracy and local politics work and create something that will have a lasting impact on their community for generations to come,” says Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater’s Executive Director for Development. “It’s also helped us celebrate the start of Rural Housing Week (3-7 July), which highlights the important role that affordable housing, like our new Stonewater development here in the village, plays in keeping rural communities together. This vibrant new neighbourhood will breathe new life into the village and it’s wonderful to have local children making their mark by helping name the road.”
Stonewater, in partnership with Mendip District Council and regional builders and developers Winsley White, started work earlier this year on the new Stonewater rural housing scheme which will provide 20 homes for affordable rent and 10 for low-cost shared ownership. The development will also benefit from outdoor recreational and community spaces and a commemorative public work of art.
“The school would like to thank the Parish and District Councils for involving our young people of Evercreech in this part of the decision making,” says Norma Anselm, Head Teacher at Evercreech Church of England Primary School. “The School Council has really enjoyed taking on the responsibility of getting all the other children involved.”
Councillor Murray Stewart of Evercreech Parish Council says: “When the Parish Council was asked by Mendip District Council to supply a name for the new road, it seemed natural that as the site was adjacent to the school, the children should have some input into the decision. I, along with the Head Teacher, came up with the idea of organising a ballot – along the lines of a council election – as a means of teaching the children how the democratic process works, and I think we achieved that at this event.”
Councillor Peter Bradshaw, Mendip District Councillor for the Creech Ward, says: “This is a great opportunity for local school children to get involved in shaping their own neighbourhoods and to make a long-lasting impact on their village. This street will forever bear the name that they helped to choose and that is something that they can be proud of. Through the voting process of choosing their favourite name, the school children have also got to experience democracy which will serve them well in the years to come.”
Stonewater currently owns and manages 234 properties across the Mendip District.