Is Stoke Ferry really the dirtiest village?
I think your anonymous reader ( July letters) should remove his rose tinted spectacles. As someone from a neighbouring village I think that I can view Stoke Ferry objectively and, in my opinion, there is no doubt that the village is visually marred by the appearance of the Favor Parker (aka Grampian Foods) factory. Your reader claimed that the factory had brought "a lot of prosperity" to Stoke Ferry but anyone driving down the hill past the factory does not get the impression that here is a prosperous village, on the contrary the impression given by that part of the village is just the opposite. In fact they might conclude from its run-down appearance that this is the least prosperous village in the area.
Your contributor went on to claim that through the existence of the factory many people "were able to raise their families, buy their houses, go on holidays". Had the factory been sited outside of the village I have no doubt that villagers would have been able to do these things just as they have in other villages that are not blighted by such an eyesore. The buildings opposite the factory may not be derelict in as much as they are used for business purposes but they do have a fairly depressing and rather derelict appearance. Even the potentially grand houses in the High Street have, by virtue of their height and closeness to the road, produced a rather dark and dismal canyon, not helped by the neglected church on the opposite side.
Of course Stoke Ferry has its appeal, it has some very nice houses and some fine old buildings with an interesting history, but there is and has been a lot of evidence of neglect, its overall appearance does seem to suffer from a number of property owners and tenants who take no interest or pride in the appearance of their property. Perhaps they find the ugly factory so disheartening that it destroys any enthusiasm they might have had.
It is highly inappropriate, in this day and age, to have a factory of this size and type situated in a village amongst the houses, it belongs in an industrial estate. It is there, however, and unlikely to go away in the near future, so it is up to the people of Stoke Ferry to try and make the village a more attractive place in which to live. Good luck to the Stoke Ferry Environmental Group let us hope that they inspire the rest of the villagers and they do not encounter too many who, like your anonymous correspondent, think there is nothing wrong with Stoke Ferry just as it is.
Name and address supplied