KIRTON IN 2007 – LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER’S REPORT
It was another year characterised by concerns over development. On that front and more generally, people seemed powerless to have their views taken into account by the relevant authorities.
DEVELOPMENT & DISILLUSIONMENT
The Maltings – the saga continued as reflected in the attached “Press Briefing” prepared by a small group of residents and copied to Parish Councillors at the time. Efforts to secure satisfactory responses from SCDC were in vain as was an attempt to persuade the Local Government Ombudsman to take up even one of the four complaints. It is not possible to appeal against a decision by the LGO.
The new owners, MEOB – apparently another Jersey-based family trust – attended a Parish Council meeting in an attempt to create good-will and to dissociate themselves from the destruction wreaked in 2006. They received a muted response.
In the Autumn SCDC approved two planning applications – the first to renovate the now Grade 2 Listed, Georgian House, and the other to erect five new houses in the garden. Crucially, the conditions for the latter legally bind the Developer before work commences, firstly to a survey for possible hazards and secondly to an Archaeological Investigation. The fact that this development will be a “gated community” drew some comment in The Star.
The LHR has a rather large file of documents and photographs which will hopefully assist the Archaeologists in the course of their research.
Weir Place – here again the views of local people counted for very little despite meetings, numerous letters and phone-calls, and coverage in the local Press. For a time the situation actually worsened as Plans were changed from those tabled at the formal Consultation, to relocate the bungalows shown at the north-east of the site to the south-west, substituting them with houses. Thankfully Heritage Housing relented on this and returned to the original proposals. There was no movement, however, to address residents’ other concerns, most notably the traffic hazards in Park Lane. Even the minimal and eminently feasible concession of a footpath at the south-west corner was dismissed.
In October, an Archaeological Evaluation was conducted by a team from SCC. The LHR visited the site twice on the day of the investigation but no significant features or artefacts were revealed. The leader of the team, Clare Good, kindly sent the LHR copies of both her report and the very interesting specification for the work.
As 2008 opens work has yet to commence.
Durilda Green – This name for the new “affordable housing” development on the paddock was suggested by the LHR and confirmed in the Autumn. After a gap of close on 1000 years, the biggest pre-Norman landowner, the Anglo-Saxon female Durilda as recorded in Domesday 1086, has a presence in the Village. The “Green” element reflects the fact that pre-Enclosure, the triangle formed by Trimley Road, Back Lane and the Falkenham Road was in common ownership.
Work on the development progressed apace over the year and appears to be nearing completion. People generally seem impressed with its design and layout.
Alley Road – several residents secured Press coverage in May of a confrontation with a Developer seeking to create new access to a plot.
People seem very concerned at what is happening at all levels in the NHS with:
- the Central GP Surgery felt it needed to issue a statement : “It is never in our interests ever to make things unnecessarily difficult when making an appointment.”
- the decision of the Suffolk Primary Care Trust to close the Bartlett Hospital despite the results of a Consultation – another case it seems of “ we consulted you, heard your views and we are going ahead anyway- it was never going to be a vote.” Before and since, Press stories have attested to the inadequacy of “Care in the Community”.
- Ipswich Hospital seeming never to be out of the news. Late in 2006, the LHR sought to establish from the East of England Strategic Health Authority under Freedom of Information, precisely how, where, when and by whom the iniquitous concept of “minimum waiting times” had been conceived along with the rationale for the specific minimum wait imposed – apparently 20 weeks. (This issue was given national coverage when the PCT was allowed to withhold £2.4M from Ipswich Hospital on the grounds that the patients treated had not waited long enough.) The Health Authority did not provide the information requested and so a complaint was lodged on May 7th 2007 with the Information Commissioner’s Office. As of the end of 2007, the ICO has been unable to assign the case to a complaint’s officer. Once again it seems to be a delusion that systems are in place “to help the little man or woman”.
- on the Dentistry front, Patrick Gillen of Meadowlands secured front page coverage in the Advertiser of 19th April extolling the many benefits of going abroad for treatment in terms of waiting times, charges and, particularly in view of his phobia, care.
3 Village Woodlands Group – good news. The destruction at The Maltings inspired Stephen Harvey to explore the feasibility of establishing a Community Woodland. On 15th January an introductory meeting was convened with The Greenlight Trust, experts in setting up such initiatives. On 30th March 38 people attended a presentation evening to establish whether there was enough support from within the Community. In October the scheme was formally launched at the School receiving Press Coverage in both The Star -12th October – and The Advertiser – 18th October.
The Parish Plan – Throughout the year the dedicated team continued to work on the analysis of the returned questionnaires with a view to producing formal reports addressing Youth, Household and Business. A Youth Report was compiled and presented to the young people in a James Bond Evening. As a result the Kirton & Falkenham Youth Club (KAFY) was formed and is going well. A Brief Summary was circulated to all households in early October pending the full Report and Action Plan. Meanwhile the full results of the Household questionnaire have been put up on the village website.
The Second Kirton Living History Day- was held on 21st July, again featuring around forty re-enactors, plyers of ancient crafts, official societies and museums, and clinics kindly run by Bob Entwistle of Ipswich Museum (Conservation) and Faye Minter and Jane Carr of SCC Archaeology (Finds). The LHR supplied items for a display in the Ashton & Graham window in Hamilton Road and served as official “consultant” to the Organiser, Sheila Cornford who “invited” numerous residents to help. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day. Proceeds were shared between the Friends of Kirton Church, the Parochial Church Council (£697.90 each) and the Suffolk Local History Council (£348.95). A video of the event featured on the excellent news-site at: www.felixstowetv.co.uk
Fishing at the reservoir was advertised by Tackle-Up Fishing at £5 for a day ticket for two rods. A story in The Star of 6th October featured a youngster catching a 12lb common carp.
Property -The Village Shop was advertised for sale at £350,00. A two-bedroom bungalow was to rent at £625 per month. Kirton Manor was up for sale at £650,000 (EADT end March). A plot of land – 30.2m x 14.7m – with planning permission for a bungalow sold at auction for £150,000. Fifteen street signs of Kirton featured in imaginative publicity leaflets by Jonathan Waters, Estate Agents.
Elections on May 3rd – Mary Dixon stood down after many years as a popular District Councillor.
Bee Swarms – there were two honeybee swarms in April both collected by David Adams.
New Reservoir at Kirton Creek – to avoid extracting water from the Mill River in summer, Paul’s farm have installed a large reservoir to store the same volume pumped up from the river in winter.
Green Field Housing – Trimley St Martin Parish Council nominated only one such site – on the Kirton side of the A14! This could set a worrying precedent for the Deben side of the peninsula.
The Kirton Black Panther – a story in The Star of 18th June featured a sighting by Paul Newman of a big black cat as he was walking his dog in Park Lane. Thankfully no sightings since!
SOME PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Fred Last and his Railway – raising over £1300 for the Children’s Hospice.
Bill Thomas – raised in Kirton and now a crocodile farmer in Zambia, won an MBE for his work on Wildlife and the Environment.
Nigel Mayhew – whose niece, Kristina Grimes, came second in The Apprentice on BBC1.
Jonathan Sheeran – a member of the victorious St Alban’s Basketball team.
Peter Ling – for an award-winning series of surveys of wildlife on golf courses.
Liz Woodmass – as part of a team accepting the £16,500 fruits of a ball for Leukaemia research.
OTHER LOCAL HISTORY NEWS
Kirton Memories Project – An oral history project has been set up by Jane Bradburn and Juliana Vandegrift to record the memories of those who remember the Village in past times. It was launched in March, with a meeting of interested villagers who enjoyed coming together to talk about the ‘old days’. This gave the researchers a chance to find likely subjects for their recordings.
A small group including the LHR was set up to oversee the project and this has met regularly throughout the year to discuss progress and review the material being recorded. Twenty-one interviews have been recorded so far. Some said initially ‘I don’t know what I’m going to talk about’- and then talked for a couple of hours! Most memories date from the Second World War and chart the changes in agriculture and village life and war experiences. The project has sparked off interest in historical research by other members of the community encouraging them to pursue their own projects.
Stalls at both the Village Fete and Living History Day proved very fruitful in finding contacts to interview, some of whom have moved away from the Village but return for these events. The local newspaper and Felixstowe TV have also helped to spread the word. The researchers have used the project to develop their skills in oral history. A state-of-the-art digital recorder was purchased, jointly funded by the researchers, Les Leggett and the LHR. Jane and the LHR met with Rod West and Maggie Grenham at Blaxhall to share ideas about oral history projects and how these can obtain funding. Jane is keen to link with other LHRs who are involved in similar exercises.
A Painting of The Greyhound by Mr Dorling, as it looked in the 1940s but painted c1960s, was kindly returned to Kirton by Mr & Mrs Hurrell of Kirton-in Lindsey. They had been given the picture by a relation who assumed it was their village. After some research they decided to make a trip to the name-sake to look for the long-gone pub. Fortunately they found their way to the LHR, had a great chat over a cup of tea and donated the picture to the archive.
WWII Research – continued with some excellent results. Michael Johnson, son of the war-time PC David Johnson of Blue Barn Cottages on the corner of Park Lane, sent across his memories of his time in the Village – amazing recollections not least in that he left the village at the age of eight. The LHR did some on-line research into the wartime crash-landing of a P51 Mustang Fighter in fields behind the Church. Within days, photographs of the crash and the uninjured pilot, Clare Duffie and his comrades, along with his own account of the crash and the official findings of the Inquiry had all arrived, courtesy of the US archives. Another crash-landing, this time at Kirton Hall, was researched, involving an RAF Miles Martinet target-towing plane (for the AA guns!). A map of K&F wartime incidents was created by the LHR, drawing heavily on the diary of Inspector Rush. The LHR also contacted Mr J P Foynes, an expert on the East Coast in WWII and author of several books, who furnished some very useful advice.
The Review & The Parish Council Newsletter – copies retained as an excellent record of events.
Amongst those who passed away in 2006 were:
Graham Pomroy, and
Queenie Rivett, just three years short of her century. She had been an institution at the Church for many years playing the organ for innumerable ceremonies.
Kirton Local History Recorder (01394 448568) January 2008