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Flytipping at nature reserve, starling murmurations at Great Gonerby and Stamford housing plans cause a stir with letter writers across Lincolnshire

Our readers have shared their views on a variety of issues.

A hidden gem!

I am compelled to write to you.

John Elson cartoon sponsored by the Assist Group
John Elson cartoon sponsored by the Assist Group

Rutland Sinfonia, what a hidden gem in our region? For an extremely modest entry fee, “Movies and Musicals” at Oakham School Chapel on March 9th, was a symphonic delight. The capacity audience was treated to a treasured repertoire of film and musical theatre melodic memories. Set against the salubrious school chapel backdrop, Conductor David Calow welcomed the audience with an engaging “Curtain Up!” Introduction. The opening overture included snippets of “Phantom” and “Funny Girl”. Beautifully arranged and sensitively executed. Undoubtedly, soloist violinist Katherine Collison punctuated the opening half with a perfect recital of Williams “Theme from Schindler’s List”; haunting, poignant and note perfect.

The program meandered through an auditory spectrum of sci-fi and stage musical classics. “Star Trek” perfectly segwayed with “The Sound of Music”. No introductions or explanations necessary. Don’t ask me how it worked, it just did.

The second half opened with Powells “How to Train Your Dragon”; much to the delight of the younger audience. Closely followed by “The Complete Harry Potter Suite” and “James Bond Through the Years”. With the whole audience immersed in the quality of the delivery, Rutland Sinfonia concluded with John Williams “Star Wars Through the Years”. Arguably Williams most memorable collection of melodies. And then the bonus arrangement, a rousing encore of the “Mission Impossible” theme, ahead of a well-deserved standing ovation.

More of the same please – excellent.

Mark Frisby

Share your views

A public meeting outlining the Priorities for Rutland will be held on March 23 at 11am at All Saints’ Church in Oakham and all are welcome. We want to hear if you agree with these priorities for Rutland?

1 Accessible, high quality health, dentistry and mental health services

2 More social and affordable housing and an end to homelessness

3 Transport links that serve the needs of our rural community

4 Better employment opportunities in towns and rural locations

5 Better leisure and sport facilities for all, and especially a swimming pool

6 Improvements to Oakham and Uppingham Town Centres

Come along and tell us your views

Councillors Ramsay Ross and Steve McRobb

Rutland County Council - Lab

Litter dropped at Stanton’s Pit nature reserve at Witham-on-the-Hill
Litter dropped at Stanton’s Pit nature reserve at Witham-on-the-Hill

Nature reserves deserve respect

On Friday morning last week (March 15), I went bird watching for the first time at Stanton’s Pit nature reserve at Witham-on-the-Hill.

On arrival I was very disappointed to find the car park littered with McDonald’s packaging and Red Bull cans.

On the entrance lane was further evidence of fly tipping.

It is a shame these beautiful nature reserves are not treated with the respect they deserve by a small minority.

The Rev Clive Doubleday


Editor’s note: people can report fly tipping on public land to their district or unitary council for investigation and clearance.

Thank you for your support

I would like to thank all those involved in raising £600 at the charity car boot event held at the Danish Invader on Saturday, March 2. I would like to thank the Danish Invader for the use of their function room and car park and Morrisons for their kind tombola donations. Despite a shower of rain in the morning, everyone enjoyed the event and all money raised will be going to OCD-UK (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ) and A-Sisterhood (helping women worldwide)

Jodie and Alison Whitehead
Jodie and Alison Whitehead

Alison and Jodie Whitehead

Businesses need to be encouraged

Is it not time that the councillors of South Kesteven District Council woke up to the fact that retail businesses in all its towns are suffering the post-covid changes in retail. Two more businesses have gone from Stamford - Browns and Cloisters. They join a long list of businesses that could not survive: Colemans, Millets, Edinburgh Woollen Mills, Wilco, Trespass, the Kitchenware shop, Robinsons, Lambs, M and Co, Johnsons, Phase 8, Clarks, Jaegers, Dawsons Silver shop, Martins, Saps, Gaynors, Greggs, HSBC, Barclays, Natwest, Nottingham BS. The Councillors need to ask themselves how they are going to encourage people to come into the towns for shopping and business?

The markets show the same effect. According to SKDC publishes accounts Grantham market losses were £79,600 in 2020, £84,340 in 2022 and £84,540 in 2023. Stamford Market made surpluses of £33,500 in 2020, £29,480 in 2022 and £24,080 in 2023. A business that had had a 30% fall in profits like Stamford's market would normally cause action to be taken to restore the profitability. Instead the SKDC councillors blindly say Stamford is thriving! Link the shrinking market to the fact that six of the largest retail units in Stamford are empty and you can see the need to take drastic action to support businesses in Stamford, in the same way it is proposed to support Grantham. Both towns need a two hours free parking policy not only on the streets but in the car parks.

I recently visited two thriving market towns in North Yorkshire, both with their markets a feature of the town. There were no empty shops. Two hours free parking using parking discs are a common feature of Yorkshire towns, even in larger towns such as Ripon. Wetherby, a town larger than Grantham or Stamford has abundant all day free parking. When the consultation about parking comes out I call upon all Stamford car users not just to say no to evening and Sunday car parking fees but to also push for a fair deal on every day of the week.

Roland Higgins

Roman Mill Gardens, Stamford

More houses are not the solution

I read in the Mercury that local councillors called a meeting of local residents at Malcolm Sargent school to discuss Stamford Gateway change of planning. I,55 years a local resident, and many others were not aware of any of this. Many people have been waiting since the original consent (600 houses altered to 400 and commercial) in 2012 for this application to be made. Major alterations to planning consent should only be considered when the project has never commenced and is treated as a complete new application. I assume this request is being made on the pretext that nobody wants to purchase this site with its "commercial" consent. A recently refused planning request for an EV charging station off Tinwell Road would have been ideally suited and that other suitable developments have been declined over the years. Have we not got adequate recently built, being built, approved plans already for housing?

I assume SKDC will be eager to approve at the prospect of £375000+ pa council tax

I and many others will be appalled and doubt the trustworthiness of all concerned if this is approved.

B J Hansford

Launde Gardens, Stamford

Some Stamford residents may be unaware of the history of the development in Empingham Road. Many years ago residents (Nimbys in my view ) were totally against any development on the vacant field.

However I and many others were persuaded by the promises (legally binding?) that the development would include community facilities and light industrial units . Perhaps a hotel, a much needed doctors surgery - Don’t start me on Lakeside! Over the years the houses have been built and sold (residential land is far more profitable than community land) .

I haven’t a clue of the legal requirements of a developer to honour their promises when gaining planning permission. Residents like myself who supported the development only did so in the belief the whole promise would be delivered. The promise has clearly not been delivered and now several years later apparently a more profitable plan to build more houses is in the offing.

Surely our local planning officials , though obviously unfit and unqualified for their role , have access to legal and professional advice? Let me give these faceless people some timely advice. Stamford residents (who pay your wages) will no longer accept your decisions if you are unable to ensure previous promises are upheld .

My point? We all appreciate more housing is required (so I’m anti Nimby by nature) but any development must come with the relevant infrastructure – roads, community facilities, transport, health facilities. What we were promised, but not delivered on the Empingham Road project.

I am obviously referring to the Stamford North /Quarry Farm development – once again house building sugared with the “promise “ of (far less profitable ) community facilities including a doctors surgery (apparently no one has told the NHS which has to endorse this?)

Promises, promises yet again!

My humble suggestion: The planning department must enforce the "promises“ made on previous developments before even considering the Stamford North /Quarry Farm proposals. Perhaps if we see the Empingham Road project delivered as promised we can consider if we can trust the planners to enforce the next development as promised.

Not too much to ask surely? We all accept we need more housing – But not without the relevant infrastructure . We get “promises” of the relevant infrastructure but end up with only housing.

People are more aware these days so the scandals involving planning in the 90’s (Doncaster comes to mind !) cannot happen again ? All the fancy plans and pictures of the proposed development are worthless unless they are enforced .Perhaps the then planning committee could tell us why this has not yet been delivered?

Simple really - finish the Empingham Road development as promised. Then we may consider the next plan

Rog Parkinson


Don’t follow his example

I do enjoy your articles but the recent one about the owner of the Slanted Door going into backstage areas without permission I have to disagree with. He is clearly breaking the rules and we should condemn this. If anyone is allowed to walk unchallenged into events we don’t know the consequences of this. Obviously in this case he is just doing it to get selfies but what happens if someone else tries this and gets past security with a weapon or has bad intentions. I just wanted to raise this point as the article seemed to represent the man in a good light when really we should not be encouraging others to follow this example.

Peter Higgins


It’s a beautiful time of year

I wrote this poem about spring which I thought your readers might enjoy as it is such a beautiful time of the year!


Turn your back on cold damp winter,

Open up your eyes and see

Nature’s giving birth around you,

Buds and blossom fill the tree!

Springtime flowers show their colours,

Swaying gently in the breeze,

Daylight hours are getting longer,

Birds are singing in the trees!

Sunshine rays are shining brighter

Warming up the Earth and air,

Creatures waking from their slumbers,

Springtime is for all to share!

See it, feel it, hear it, smell it,

Really such a wondrous thing!

Nature doesn’t disappoint us,

Every year it brings us Spring!

Carolyn Brocklebank

Huntingtower Road


Town is not as affluent as it seems

Last week's Grantham Journal gives the impression of our town as a wealthy prosperous place to live with plenty of disposable income available. So a new luxury SUV showroom about to open here selling Porsche, Ferrari, Maclaren seems relevant. Coincidentally, the Journal featured a road test of the latest Porsche. These stats are mindless, cost, £70K & max speed 170 mph, that's a legal 70mph for the motorway and 100mph to impress the neighbours, while ignoring the planet-killing emissions of 238g/kg. (petrol driven of course)

Margaret Thatcher was totally relaxed about people getting rich in the pre global warming era and I'm sure her policies encouraged the hard workers and entrepreneurs to "Get Rich". The Labour Party's future finance minister, Rachel Reeves, is also preaching this policy but she may find it impossible to action Maggie's policies alongside Labour's hopeless green agenda.

"This Green & Pleasant Land" does not mean "Green and Affluent". Surely it's obvious, the richer you get sadly the less green you are.

Rod Hatheril

Lodge Way


Thank you for your kindness

After a fall last Saturday, on St Catherine’s Road, Grantham, I would like to thank the couple and others who stopped to help me as well as the ambulance crew.

Thank you all for your help and kindness.

Claire Bonshor-Heaton

By email

We hosted friends from twin town

I was very interested to read the article in this last week’s Grantham Journal about the successful visit made by Grantham councillors to Grantham’s twinned town of Sankt Augustin.

My reason for the interest is because I was the official interpreter at the official twinning ceremony in 1981! At the time, Herr Gatzweiler was the mayor of Sankt Augustin, and Joe Flatters was the Grantham mayor. Herr Gatzweiler spoke not a word of English, Joe Flatters no German, and through my company at the time (I was working for BMarco), as I spoke fluent German, I was asked if I would like to translate (it was all very last minute I remember!) This all happened on a beautifully sunny day on the steps of the town hall (I have many photographs of the occasion), and I was duly asked to act as translator/interpreter for all following visits to and from Sank Augustin.

We moved to France in 1986, and Herr Gatzweiler even called me from France to translate on some visits, which I did until he had to retire due to ill health.

I then remained abroad until 1997, when we returned to Grantham. I do know that many of the original twinning council/committee have died (Joe Flatters, Ivan Dawson, Frank Clarke, Herr Gatzweiler), but it would be nice to know if there are one or two left who were there at the original ceremony and who may remember me! I would also be very happy to help out again with any translation if need be. I am still in contact with the first family from Sankt Augustin we ever hosted (Peter, his wife Hildegard and their daughter Daria Reichow) – this was for the official twinning ceremony, and Peter was a trombonist with the brass band who performed at the ceremony.

It would be very nice if you could perhaps help me make contact with some people still involved in the twinning – I am very happy to read that the partnership is still thriving.

Gaby Leigh

by email

Are we being ripped off?

We had two taxi’s last week - one into town and one home. The first one was less than £3, the return home was more than £5. Are we being ripped off by some taxi companies?

J Michaels


A sensible outcome this time

I am sorry to see that residents of Great Gonerby are having problems with bird droppings on their cars. However, how refreshing to see their sensible grown up attitude. Yes, bird droppings are unpleasant, but the alternative to is to eliminate all wildlife and live in a concrete wasteland. And that would be worse.

How different from the attitude of our former Conservative council. A few years ago we got some really impressive bird displays of starlings in the centre of Grantham, from starlings that roosted in the trees at the edge of the car park between Morrisons and B&M. The benches under the trees got covered in droppings. So the council chopped down all the trees. And the birds left. And no-one sits on the dropping free benches anyway. Meanwhile, there is no shade in summer and no privacy for the people who live in the flats that back onto the car park. At the last election, the voters of Grantham threw out the Conservatives. But we still have not got the trees back. (Or the birds.)

John Morgan

Harrowby Road, Grantham

I wanted to share with you a poem that my daughter wrote today. She heard the news about the starlings causing chaos in Great Gonerby and wanted to share her thoughts, having been to see the murmuration yesterday with her grandparents and her younger brother. She found them fascinating and was inspired to write about them.

Nina Cruz

Alitzel Cruz who penned The Starlings
Alitzel Cruz who penned The Starlings

The Starlings

By Alitzel Cruz, age 10

They soared high in the blue sky,

like little quartz jewels in the air.

Like fish that swim up to the clouds,

gliding without a care.

They made such graceful shapes,

those specs in the clear blue.

A whale; a bird; a balloon,

there beauty was nothing but true.

And the starlings made me feel calm,

their beauty and glory took my breath away.

And I’ll remember them in my dreams,

and all through every day.

Letters can be sent to: news@lincsonline.co.uk. Please include your name, address and telephone number.

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