Extracts from 2003 Witham Staple issues 

Topical issues are aired and forthcoming events detailed each month in The Witham Staple printed magazine: 

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The Witham Staple is mandated to reflect what is happening in our Lincolnshire community (i.e. the villages of Aubourn, Bassingham, Carlton le Moorland, Norton Disney, Stapleford, Thurlby, Witham St Hughs and the rural areas surrounding these villages).

This page selects some extracts published during 2003 that provide a flavour of the prevailing themes.





July /August




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March 2003

Editorial – Stan Underwood  

Daily life in this part of rural Lincolnshire often seems a far cry from the problems and complexities of the wider political world; here we can easily feel secure and comfortable and not find the need to concern ourselves with such matters. Even so, part of our inescapable everyday awareness is seeing and hearing the busy military air traffic in the skies above us, taking off from and landing at RAF Waddington. This, of course, a daily reminder that we and our country are constantly well protected, day and night, from any attack from outside, unlikely though that has seemed since the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it is also a reminder of a more sombre reality.

The sobering truth is that, by the time you read this, the United Kingdom may be at war war, for heaven’s sake! Where people kill and are killed! - unless, that is, wiser counsels come to prevail, on the one side and the other. How distressing to realise that mankind can still resort to such hideous and uncivilized means to settle international differences! Have we learnt nothing from our long and conflict-ridden history? We cannot escape our common destiny; we are each our brother’s and our sister’s keeper, and no country can expect to operate today in isolation from or disregard for the rest of the world.

We too, then, surely cannot escape addressing the awful dilemma facing the world community. As we cherish the freedom and peace we enjoy here in Lincolnshire, so too must we do all and anything in our power to seek the same peace and freedom for all our fellow human beings - and by peaceful, patient means, if at all possible.

Parish Council Meetings – Road Safety

Dovecote Lane, Haddington is an extremely narrow road which has a speed limit of 30mph and a weight restriction. Owing to the recent weather conditions, the verges are very soft, making it increasingly difficult for two cars to pass. Drivers using this road should therefore exercise extreme caution and adhere to the speed limit.

Much consideration has been given to the poor visibility for drivers leaving Torgate Lane, Bassingham. All drivers are therefore requested to exercise caution at this junction.

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April 2003

Editorial – Stan Underwood

Oh, to be in England

Now that April’s there,

And whoever wakes in England

Sees, some morning, unaware

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf

Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf;

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough

In England - now!

Home Thoughts from Abroad - Robert Browning

It is evident that Robert Browning had an eye and an ear for the wonderful sounds and sights of Nature, as indeed many of his mid-nineteenth century contemporaries must have had. Life then was still largely lived at a pace set by the rhythms of the natural world and the cycle of the seasons.

How different is the frenzy of many people’s lives today! Mankind has made great strides in the last 150 years, and we are provided with ever more ingenious technologies to improve our work and leisure. But does all this, in fact, improve the quality of our existence? Are we perhaps all too easily persuaded that to be cramming more and more into our daily routine is what we really want or need? Sometimes we can be so busy that we haven’t time to... live! As with gluttony, only by taking less can we really savour what we do have.

One thing Browning would certainly have noted today is that we have, sadly, lost from our landscape that most quintessential of English trees, the elm.

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May 2003

Norton Disney Parish Council

The Annual General Meeting of the Parish Council and the Annual Parish Meeting will take place on 8th May at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall. Guest speaker at the Annual Parish Meeting will be Lincolnshire County Council’s Countryside Access Officer, who will talk about Public Footpaths and Access to the Countryside.

The Parish Meeting may by law discuss all parish affairs and pass resolutions about them. All are welcome.

Jenny Wright Parish Clerk

A46 Newark To Lincoln Improvement

Permanently Changes Local Landscape and Traffic Flows

March saw the traffic running on the new carriageway with the exception of the Brough Bypass. The old A46 reconstruction is now well underway, with all the earthworks completed other than topsoil and shaping of some banks and ditches. Brough Bridge is open to traffic and Haddington Bridge is expected to be open by early May. Brough Bypass is expected to be open in mid-May, followed by the Winthorpe to Halfway House section operating as a full dual by late May; then Halfway House to Hykeham operating as a full dual in early June. Minor side road works and the old A46 works at Brough should see the contract completed by the end of June, some five months earlier than the two-year contract period.

Traffic Management

Haddington Lane Bridge – Early May: The opening of the bridge will allow the straight-on traffic between Haddington and Thorpe on the Hill as well as right turns at the Haddington Lane/Fosse Lane junction.

Brough Bypass - Mid May: The opening of the bypass will mean that local traffic on the Lincoln-bound carriageway will need to use the slip lane junction just to the Newark side of the bridge. Local traffic on the Newark-bound carriageway will need to use the off slip lane and on slip lane junctions of the old M6 each side of Brough village, as appropriate.

Winthorpe to Halfway House Dual Carriageway - Late May: This section has five wide crossings at Gravel Pit Road, Folly Lane, Potter Hill Road, Wood Lane and Newark Road. These wide crossings allow for all turning movements at the junction and are so called because the central reservation is wide enough to accommodate articulated lorries or tractors and trailers without them having to overhang the fast lanes of each carriageway. Cow Lane will be ‘left out’ only and Green Lane will be ‘left in/left out’ only, as at present.

Halfway House to Hykeham Dual Carriageway - Early June: Other than the slip lanes at the Haddington Lane/Fosse Lane junction, there are only private access junctions on this section of the road that will not be able to cross the central reservation. Right turn movements at these accesses will necessarily be via Halfway House Roundabout, Haddington Lane Bridge or Hykeham Roundabout.

Specific enquiries to Public Relations Officer, Steven Brudenell (Alfred McAlpine)

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June 2003

Editorial – Stan Underwood

Summer is y-cumen in,

Loudé sing, cuckoo!

Groweth seed and bloweth meed

And spring’th the woodé now -

Sing, cuckoo! 


Some things in this whirling, alarmingly unsteady world remain reassuringly unchanged. It is surprisingly heartening to realise that the anonymous medieval poet who wrote the lines above would easily recognise today many of the welcome signs of early summer: the call of the cuckoo, of course, and, as he says, the new crops sprouting in the cultivated soil and the woodland trees in full new leaf.

Sadly, though, he might have to look a bit harder than in his own day to find fields full of meadowland flowers, that were clearly so familiar to him. Yet it is only in the last fifty years or so that our stewardship of the land and the countryside has often so wantonly failed to cherish and protect the wonderful plant, animal and bird life that was our natural heritage. Even nearby, we have watched with very mixed feelings as one of the few local fields where each year corn marigolds have miraculously appeared was lost for ever under the concrete and tarmac of the new west-bound carriageway of the admittedly long-awaited A46 improvement. Such is progress..

But all is not lost. Recent new trends in land-management together with the imminent major overhaul of the EU Common Agricultural Policy may well both help redress the balance and even retrieve some of the losses of the past. Let’s hope so.

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July/August 2003

Editorial – Stan Underwood

Following the AGM, The Witham Staple committee wishes to convey on behalf of readers an appreciation of the work done over the past year by all those who help each month in the production and distribution of the magazine. From the regular feedback we receive, it is clear that the team, which includes volunteers from each of our villages, provides through the magazine a service that is widely appreciated as a valuable contribution to the life of the community.

If I may be permitted for once to sound a personal note, I should like to endorse warmly Mike Allport’s comments overleaf about our retiring chairman. John has more than anybody striven resolutely to ensure the soundness, integrity and quality of The Witham Staple during its most formative years. His behind-the-scenes support and encouragement for me as editor and his readiness to share tricky problems have been a constant help and reassurance. Along with others, I am very relieved that he is not disappearing from the team!

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September 2003

Editorial – Stan Underwood

Once again it’s September and the start of the school year for many of our young people some of them for the first time, with all its eager anticipation and excitement - while many of the older ones will be moving on to college or university. They carry with them the hopes and good wishes of their families and the communities they come from. Let’s hope that their education continues to be what it always should be: a wonderful and enjoyable period of learning and personal growth which will give them the best possible start in life, and not simply the long succession of tests and examinations that has featured prominently in recent years...

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October 2003

Editorial – Stan Underwood

What makes a thriving, happy village community, do you think? It’s certainly much more than building numbers of new houses, important though they are. It’s likely to be about how the people see themselves as members of a particular community; how much they share common interests and aspirations; how the individual joins in and is encouraged to join in! and shares responsibility for what together the village does and achieves.

Part of this must surely entail recognising and cherishing what we value about that village, what makes it distinctive and is worth holding on to. But people need to ‘fit together happily’ as much as do houses and this doesn’t just happen; feelings can, sometimes quite understandably, run high over matters of local interest, but this then calls for a readiness to work towards a common understanding, a respect for sincerely held views that may differ from our own [see letter below]. Such a community we can all enjoy living in.

Congratulations to the people of Bassingham for winning their class in the Best Kept Village Competition (page 4). This shows what can be achieved by pooling efforts in a common endeavour. The aims of the competition are particularly interesting and include: ‘making the village a more pleasant place to live’. It’s not then about turning the village into a municipal park nor - thank goodness -‘daffodillifying’ the country verges outside the village!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir

Carlton le Moorland: petition objecting to three-storey housing proposal at Skayman Fields off Clay Lane

152 households were invited by me to make a formal objection to the above proposal. 79 households objected, with one anonymous letter received in favour. All of these papers were delivered to the Director of Planning, NKDC on 29.08.03. and acknowledged.

On the 28.08.03. the Developer called at my home to advise that he was intending to amend the proposal to two-storey, this to be considered by the Area Planning Committee on 02.09.03. Prior to this meeting, notification was received from NKDC that the proposal had been withdrawn entirely.

I have forwarded a letter to Carlton le Moorland Parish Clerk requesting that the Council consider this objection to three­-storey housing when making an appraisal of future planning applications or formulating a ‘Parish Plan’.

Trevor Townsend

Bassingham Bonfire

The bonfire will be held on Saturday 8th November at 7.00 pm. Could you please take any suitable materials to the field on Saturday 1st November between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm, where assistance will be available. No mattresses or spring upholstery items, please.

We shall be serving hotdogs, burgers, mushy peas, sweets and soft drinks. Please come and enjoy the evening but remember it is being held for the enjoyment of the village; please give generously at the gate. The Bonfire is totally funded by your donations and can only continue if we cover our costs.

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November 2003

Editorial – Stan Underwood

The often very fitful nature of our British climate means that we have a well-deserved reputation for being constantly preoccupied with the weather - and rarely satisfied with what it sends us! Yet we really can’t complain with any justification about the summer we’ve had this year nor all those lovely autumn days we’ve been able to enjoy during September and October. But then, after weeks and weeks with no sign of any significant rainfall in this part of the country, which has left the land looking utterly parched and the vegetation crisp and dry and even dying off, some of us are again anxiously watching every forecast hoping for a change in the weather...

Welcome to all those readers who have moved into our area in recent months. You are likely to find a friendly reception in these Upper Witham villages: a welcoming, no-fuss readiness to see you become part of the community and an expectation that you’ll want to join in whatever takes your fancy, without waiting to be invited. And you can count on The Witham Staple to keep you informed on most matters of local interest.

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Witham Staple Web Editor can be contacted by e-mail: info@withamstaple.com