KIRTON IN 2014 – LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER’S REPORT
On The World Stage – perhaps for the first time in its history, Kirton featured on the world stage on Friday 9th May while, in under four minutes, the Friends Life Women’s Tour swept through the village en route from Felixstowe to Clacton-on-Sea on the 56.3 mile, third stage of the cycling event. People gathered on the Green with more on Brook Hill to witness the event. First to appear were the outriders in cars and on motorbikes. The Police bikes caused some alarm as the usual speed limits through the village seemed to be set aside. Then came the “peleton” of 55 riders drawn from countries across the world. Closely bunched and at an impressive speed, they flashed by in what seemed a fraction of a minute.
Housing – was again a dominant theme. After two presentations – in April and September – Taylor Wimpey submitted, just before Christmas, an application for 39 houses on the old B&M site in Falkenham Road. Although pared back from the original 45, the proposal proved highly controversial.
The backcloth to housing in the District at large and on the Felixstowe Peninsula in particular, was also quite fraught and a challenge, to put it mildly, to follow. The target still seemed to be 1,760. Several proposals surfaced – 86 houses at the Trimley Mushroom Farm; 70 in Trimley St Mary: 570 for Gulpher New Town. The approval of 2,000 homes at Adastral Park was challenged in the High Court by the action group NANT (No to Adastral New Town) leading to fears that if this initiative were to be rejected, a similar volume of housing would be imposed elsewhere on the Peninsula.
Meanwhile the record on Affordable Housing made dismal reading. In the period 2010-2013, of 134 affordable houses approved in the District only 26 had actually been built. The target of a third meant that of the 741new houses, 247 should have been affordable. The 134 approved represented 18% which was bad enough but the number actually built – 26 – came to only 3.5%.
It was good to see SCDC at long last trying to hold developers to the commitments they had made when seeking Planning approval but disappointing when, as in Framlingham, the developer successfully appealed to the Planning Inspector – so much for Localism.
“Consultation fatigue” has been aggravated by the new Planning website, shared with Waveney, which appears highly unfriendly to the user in several ways. It comes as no surprise then to find that a number of people have become either apathetic or cynical on this topic and with politics in general.
Orwell School – pending its demolition held a final reunion of past pupils in March which descended into chaos receiving widespread media coverage.
Kirton Quilters – held an open day which featured in the Star on 2nd April.
The European Elections – were held on 22nd May – copies of party literature have been retained.
The Fete – was held at the Recreation Ground on 7th June. It was opened by the journalist Lynne Mortimer whose article in the Star of 16th June gave her amusing reflections on the experience.
The Methodists – held an Open Gardens Day on 22nd June
East Anglia ONE – the off-shore windfall development by Vattenfall (a state-owned Swedish company) & Scottish Power Renewables (owned by Iberdrola a publically-owned Spanish firm) secured consent. Surveys are anticipated early in 2015 including of its cable routes in Kirton with 2017 the approximate date for the start of construction.
The Clergy – after fifteen years as the Rector of Kirton, Rev. Geoffrey Grant retired. A Thanksgiving Service was held at the Church on 15th October. Copies of the Prayers and the Tribute by Stephen Harvey have been retained. Meanwhile the Methodists welcomed Rev. Diane Smith as their new minister.
New Surgery & Repeat Prescriptions – the old Central Surgery closed and the practice moved to brand new premises with an integral pharmacy at the Grove. Many patients with repeat prescriptions were dismayed when a blanket policy of a maximum of a single month’s supply was introduced.
Local History Happenings:
An Article in “The Deben” magazine – Jane Bradburn was in touch in the course of drafting this article reflecting on growing up near the Creek.
Pam Cole of Felixstowe Museum was in touch regarding the Zeppelin attack on Kirton.
Ted Payne researched the names on the War Memorial and recounted in the Review his trip to several European cemeteries. He called a meeting late in the year to explore the possibility of applying for a grant to commemorate in some way those who had fallen.
WWI Family Research – a Kirton lady sought advice in tracing those of her family who had fought in the Great War.
Broom Hill Cottage – a new owner, after its refurbishment, was in contact researching the history of the cottage and its occupants – the Amos family.
U3A Church Crawlers – over the year two groups – the second with around thirty members – visited for a conducted tour of the church and churchyard along with a mini-exhibition.
Para-normal Research – a member of a local group made contact seeking advice as to how to research the history of a house or building.
Rookyards & the 1894 Drowning Tragedy – a couple visited to confirm they were related to Louie (12) and Susan (10) both of whom had drowned and were buried in the churchyard.
Knights Family Reunion – this was an all-day event held at the Church Hall on 27th September. Around sixty people attended and the LHR was kindly invited. The focus was the highly impressive family and WW1research undertaken by the organisers, Helen Thomson of Glasgow (who has been an avid Kirton researcher for many years), John & Ken Knights, and Violette Valentine. The event featured in the Star a little later and led to contact from:
Joan Cone – who had known the Knights and was keen to liaise with members of the family especially those who had been raised elsewhere but whose ancestors had hailed from Kirton. John Knights visited Joan on behalf of the family and recorded a lengthy conversation. Following Joan’s sad death a few weeks later, a copy of the recording along with some photographs taken at the time were passed on to her family.
Other Sad Departures included: Catherine Shepherd; Tom Wells; Russell Girling; David Spencer
Kirton Local History Recorder
Phone: Kirton 568