War Memorial Gary Trouton

Straight talking

May 2008

Our Grumpy Old Man questions the wisdome of making Bridge Road in Stoke Ferry much narrower when it is alread an accident black-spot.

I fully expect there to be much discussion over the coming years with the problems I believe we will all start to see on Bridge Road. I know last month I complained about the County Council not spending any money in Stoke Ferry but when I saw just how much they have narrowed Bridge Road I wish they had carried on not spending money here. Given that we have nearly year round parking along here, what with the boat people and our ever keen band of anglers. All I can see is misery and possibly an accident (which I sincerely hope never happens). It has always been like flying by the seat of your pants as you approach the bridge from the Stoke Ferry side never quite knowing if someone will be coming around the corner at speed and on the wrong side. Now we will have to contend with weaving our way toward the roundabout. I know this is a rural area with little country lanes but that doesn't mean you have down grade existing road to country lane status. That would be removing one lane of the M25.

However if the M25 were to go round Stoke Ferry I am sure by now the Parish Council would have renumbered it. I understand that the renumbering of Wretton Road will commence from the Hill and continue down the road towards the school. So for instance the (former) Millers Arms will now become number 5 Wretton Road. Apart from trading estates I have never known commercial properties be given a number. And what about those little grade II listed cottages down by the school, each one given a name that meant something to the original owners, now they will become just a number. We might as well change all the road names as well, scrap the current names and use an American style grid system, and then we could just change the name of the village to Little Milton Keynes.

The regular rumour of the Mill closure are doing the rounds again, for those who work there it must be a worrying time, especially as realistically one day those rumours will be true. That day will be a sad day for the village. The Mill has been here for many years and has made Stoke Ferry what it is today. Most people still refer to the Mill as Parkers, a reference that goes back to the seventies and eighties when the existence of the village centred around the Mill. Most of the village had worked there or knew someone in their own family who worked there. The social club was the hub of the village in the evenings, at one point there was even a doctor's surgery held in the social club. The Mill didn't claim total top spot for the social centre of the village, it was a hard fought battle between the Mill and the school. When the school moved to its current location in Wretton Road in the latter part of the 1980's it really became the focus of Stoke Ferry. A modern building set on the village boundary, a large playing field and integrated community centre, in fact this building was designed to become the centre of a small vibrant rural community. Every year there would be huge sports days, village fete's. Every Saturday night the community centre would become the venue for birthday parties, wedding anniversaries even wedding receptions. I recently went into the community centre and was horrified to see the general condition of it. I would say a lick of paint has been applied recently but other than that the whole building looks like my old junior school did back in the 70's. A cold depressing place...an institution. Since the school took over the running of the community centre the whole place has gone downhill. A lack of investment has resulted in a building that no one is that keen to use anymore. On the other hand the village hall has done a really impressive job at reinventing itself. Rarely is there a weekend when the road outside isn't choc a bloc with cars, whether it be a bingo, wedding reception or children's party. The school has now become a functional building on the edge of the village, its soul has moved on, and I understand that the school have got planning permission to extend the building, hopefully getting rid of the mobile buildings, I wonder how long before the community centre finally gets swallowed up by the school and closes its doors for the last time.

Finally, walking round Stoke Ferry I have rather disgustingly noticed the vast amount of dog's mess that litters our streets. This is a real problem in this village, one that has been raised many times at the Parish Council meetings. Signs have been erected around the village warning dog owners to clear up any mess there dog leaves. Every dog owner I have spoken to assures me that they are a responsible dog owner, which means, somewhere there is a dog in this village which is responsible for all the mess, and a dog owner who doesn't care. To that dog owner I hope your sewer blocks up and you have to live in some of the filth that your dog creates for the rest of us here.

Grumpy Old Man

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