Working Amicably Together | Bill Ball | 12 July 2016
Your last edition included a letter from Susie Mendel about a problem with the Parish Council over commemorative trees in Bishop’s Meadow, with a blow-by-blow account of who wrote what to whom.
May I add some perspective? She lays 100% of the blame on the Council but the problem would not have arisen if the Nettleham Woodland Trust (NWT) had stuck to its commitment to look after the site. In the winter 2013 edition of Nettleham News a double page spread explained why the NWT had walked away from another commitment to plant and maintain trees alongside the rugby ground. Again 100% of the blame was attributed to the NWT’s partner, the Rugby Club, with a similar long account of various emails and letters. I thought at the time: couldn’t the two Chairmen have settled things over a drink?
The Council has admitted errors, but let’s remember, the councillors are volunteers too, a number of whom put in huge efforts for the village. I am no stranger to problems with the Council, but find that they can usually be sorted out in private by one-to-one meetings on site, with both sides respecting the concerns and good intentions of the other. All organisations make mistakes. The key is to learn from them which doesn’t happen if someone else is given all the blame. Nor are future relations helped when one side resorts to slagging off the other in public.
Establishing new woodlands takes many years, so those doing it need to cultivate ‘stickability’. The NWT might also examine whether its expertise is quite as good as claimed. There were a good number of trees dead from lack of care before the Council took over, and the positioning of many trees in straight lines was hardly appropriate for amenity planting.
Maintaining good relations between organisations run by committees is notoriously tricky. The NWT Trustees should see these events as a wake-up call, and act to put in place the management and diplomatic skills needed to establish and stick to workable long-term agreements. Then we may hope that the NWT can build on its achievements with further successes based on lasting partnerships. The incoming Chairman of the Parish Council might also care to add something similar to their task list.
Tuesday 12 July 2016 | via email