Posted: 26.06.20 at 17:31 by Nick Hudson
FOLLOWERS of the most popular social media platform in Atherstone are set to force its owners to perform a U-turn on a dramatic name change imposed at the beginning of the week.
Peter Farrugia has already apologised to his 13,500-strong People’s Forum after deciding to “expand a little” and include ‘Coleshill’ in its title.
A unilateral move on Monday prompted hundreds of comments and within 24 hours a poll of members had been organised with a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire-style multiple-choice questionnaire involving four alternatives.
The name change revived old rivalries between the two towns going back nearly half a century – when the borough of North Warwickshire was created out of the former Meriden rural and Atherstone urban district councils in 1974.
The forum membership has responded with a stinging message of intent – currently voting 367 to one to stay as it is, with only TWO votes to switch the title to include North Warwickshire’s second biggest town.
Mr Farrugia said he should have “asked in the first place”.
He has promised to abide by the result when the poll closes on Sunday but has admitted he cannot change the name again for another 27 days “whatever the outcome”.
The survey asks, should the forum:
• Stay exactly as we are (don't fix what ain't broken) ‘Atherstone People’s Forum’
• Expand but just allow a broader membership ‘Atherstone & District Forum’
• Allow a much wider audience altogether ‘North Warwickshire Area Forum’
• Allow Coleshill specific membership ‘Atherstone & Coleshill People's Forum’
The results have been overwhelmingly in favour of staying with the name ‘Atherstone People’s Forum’ – 632 people voting for that option so far.
Expanding to a wider ‘Atherstone & District’ has garnered 71 votes, a ‘North Warwickshire’ option some 31 votes – and just TWO for the specific membership of Atherstone & Coleshill People’s Forum’.
Views on the name change varied from singing the praises of a “well-run” social media forum, through opening up to a larger area leading to a “loss of close community feel”, to Allan Whyman posting: “Sorry, I came to live in Atherstone.
“And if you want to include all and sundry villages and small towns within a 10-mile radius, carry on – but it will be without me.
“I’ll stay local.”
Mr Farrugia confirmed the forum no longer shared posts from either the “not for us” Atherstone Nub News or allowed the Atherstone & Coleshill Herald to “drop their news onto here anymore because nine times out of 10 they've taken it from us anyway”.
Nub News asked borough civic leader David Wright for a comment. He told us: “I have no view really other than I believe Pete Farrugia lives and works in Coleshill, so it would make sense to have an Atherstone and Coleshill forum for him.”