Rolleston-on-Dove Parish Council

The first Rolleston Parish Council was elected at a Parish Meeting on 4th December 1894 when about 80 parochial electors were present. The successful candidates were:-

George Thomas Knowles

Samuel Taylor

John Bladon

Frederick Francis

Thomas Robinson

Thomas Ward William Royall

At the first Council Meeting held nine days later, Rev. Canon Fielden, the Rector, was elected (and co-opted) as Chairman and Thomas Shelly was appointed Clerk. He was followed in that position by first his son and then his grandson. These three served as Clerk from 1894 to 1949 with a three year break during the Second World War. Alan and Maureen Woodbine have now between them served in that capacity for over twenty five years.

Much of the early business of the Council involved Sir Oswald Mosley and one of the first actions was to provide gas street lighting (with gas purchased from the Mosley owned gas works). Mr. Knowles was Sir Oswald's Estate Agent and the obvious link-man with the "Big House".

In those days, sewage was allowed to go untreated into the Alderbrook, the state of which was acknowledged to be "very unpleasant". This problem was not resolved until 1912 when the sewerage scheme was completed.

The Council was kept very busy in the early years of its life and was heavily involved in the building of the school which resulted in the closure of the Boys Grammar School (present Church Room) and the Girls School. The former caused a dispute over the ownership of the building.

The first piece of open space acquired by the Council was the Spreadeagle Island which was a gift from Sir Oswald in 1920. Many years were to pass before the Elizabeth Avenue Playing Field was acquired in 1961, followed by The Croft in 1975 and the Craythorne land in 1978.

The activity of the early years was followed by a period of decline in the 20's and 30's. Perhaps there were several reasons for this - the national situation and restrictions on spending being two.

The rapid, post Second World War development was the impetus for a revival in the fortunes of the Council. This was much assisted by the Local Government Act 1972 and the removal of precept limits from 1st April 1974. The Council now became more involved in the life of the village assisting such diverse bodies as the County Library, Civic Trust, Music Festival and the Scouts.

At that time, membership of the Council was almost exclusively limited to those with a political nomination from the Conservative Party which had at that time no difficulty in fielding eleven competent candidates. The nineties have seen a swing in the composition of the Council with Liberal Democrats in a majority since 1995.

A major achievement in the 1980's was the flood prevention scheme which involved lowering the bed of the Alderbrook by a metre. At this time, the Jinny Nature Trail was born. The former Rolleston to Stretton railway line had been acquired and the name was suggested by Tom Martin, Chairman of the Rolleston Civic Trust. Craythorne Wood was planted in 1994 to celebrate the Centenary of the Council.

Local Government is once again going through major changes; the one tier which has remained unchanged throughout the last 106 years is the Parish Council and its role is steadily reverting back to its beginnings. The Council is consulted on all Planning Applications relating to the village and will continue to press the Borough Council to devolve more power to parish councils on non controversial applications. Under delegated authority from the County Council, the Parish Council is responsible for all grass cutting and is now looking to take over minor highway maintenance.

The new Millennium has started with fresh challenges already in the frame.

Alan Woodbine

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This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 5 April 2000