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Sutton Bridge villagers concerned that ‘gateway to Lincolnshire’ is a mess and will put off visitors





Concerned residents say the entrance to a village is a “let down” and ruining what should be a picturesque gateway into Lincolnshire.

Dog mess, rubbish in bus shelters and untidy kerbs are giving the wrong impression for visitors to Sutton Bridge - at a time when it is hoped that more visitors may come to walk the new King Charles III England Coastal Path nsections from Hunstanton to Sutton Bridge and Skegness.

Travelling from Norfolk across Sutton Bridge should be an attractive experience - and an enticing opportunity to get people to visit the village - but residents do not believe this is the case and brought the issue up at a recent parish council meeting.

A bad first impression? Sutton Bridge residents feel more could be done to enhance the 'gateway to Lincolnshire'
A bad first impression? Sutton Bridge residents feel more could be done to enhance the 'gateway to Lincolnshire'
THe crumbling Bridge Hotel makes for an unsightly spectacle - and draws comments from visitors
THe crumbling Bridge Hotel makes for an unsightly spectacle - and draws comments from visitors

Resident John Grimwood, who lives in the village and previously served as a parish councillor, said: “It is a mess.

“The central reservations have piles of dirt and the kerbs are a mess and it is not enticing for people as they come into Sutton Bridge.

“I am concerned as you come in that it casts a shadow over the village a little bit.

Welcome to Lincolnshire sign, near Sutton Bridge
Welcome to Lincolnshire sign, near Sutton Bridge
River Nene in Sutton Bridge
River Nene in Sutton Bridge

“We are a gateway to Lincolnshire and it ought to be great.”

The bridge was freshly painted two years ago but Mr Grimwood is concerned about the piles of rubbish leading up to the structure and has taken action himself in the past.

He said: “I used to take a wheelbarrow and shovel up the piles of dirt.

“In those days you just had to do it but I think it is a generational thing as a lot of people now just throw rubbish out of the window.

“But I think the area around the bridge should be more well kept as tourist’s impressions might not be very good.”

Remains of the Bridge Hotel in Sutton Bridge
Remains of the Bridge Hotel in Sutton Bridge
Cross Keys Bridge in Sutton Bridge
Cross Keys Bridge in Sutton Bridge

There are positives that Mr Grimwood feels make Sutton Bridge worth a visit even if just passing through.

He said: “We want to encourage people to come into the village who might need somewhere to stop.

“The chip shop is very good and the riverside bar and the roundabout are not too bad when you come in from Norfolk and when you come over the bridge there is a village green which looks pleasant, daffodils and picnic tables installed by volunteers.

“The other ugly thing though is the Bridge Hotel with all the windows pulled off and rubbish round the back.”

The Bridge Hotel is one of a series of derelict buildings which are blighting the area – and it failed to sell at an auction earlier this year.

Business owner Pippa Jones owns Pippa’s Pantry in the village. She was hopeful that an owner could be found to take on the decaying hotel - and believes that the parish council could do more to improve the area, such as adding flower pots to make it nicer,

She said: “I absolutely agree with the resident’s comments.

“Outside the pantry on the little bit of grass we will put chairs and tables on the green bit -and we have new sun brollies so when people come over the bridge it looks nice but the parish council needs to do more.

“Something needs to be done. Because the pantry is online I don't struggle with the business but anyone who is passing through is always looking out for something local.

“They always ask me what is down the road and they all comment on the hotel saying it is disgusting.

“There have been squatters in there and the police are always there.

“People do want to come and try the cakes and head here - but when they come in the summer there is nothing else here to do.”

Pippa Jones, left, agrees that more should be done to improve Sutton Bridge
Pippa Jones, left, agrees that more should be done to improve Sutton Bridge

Cllr Jack Tyrell, portfolio holder for environmental services at South Holland District Council and the area’s county councillor, attended the parish council meeting and has a vision of what he would like to see to be achieved while he is in post.

He said: “I would like to get something done with the roundabout.

“The summer is a good time to get something done and it would be nice to have the backing of the council.

“It would be nice for example to get a Christmas Tree on the roundabout.”

See also: ‘Disgusting benches are not showing town in good light’

Issues such as street-cleaning, flytipping, dog mess and aesthetic cleaning all fall under the remit of the district council.

Cleaning the highways for safety reasons lies with Lincolnshire County Council.

The verge and kerbs are a mess say worried residents. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
The verge and kerbs are a mess say worried residents. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
The grass verges are not well maintained. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
The grass verges are not well maintained. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
A central reservation looks a mess. PHOTO: SUBMITTED
A central reservation looks a mess. PHOTO: SUBMITTED

A spokesman from the Highways and Transport team said: “The three bus shelters on Bridge Road are owned by the parish council, who are responsible for their maintenance

“Street cleaning other than to maintain the safety of the highway - dirt, litter, dog mess etc - is an SHDC function.

“Both roundabouts at Sutton Bridge are on our grass cutting and strimming programme. As per our policy, we carry out three cuts per year and these are safety rather than amenity cuts.

“Some parishes and town councils have signed up to our grass cutting agreements where we pay them what it would cost us for 3 cuts, and they then can do any additional cuts or amenity work at their own expense. If a parish council is interested in a higher level of service, this option is available to them.

“It may also be worth noting that the majority of the issues above - regardless of which council is responsible for the works - can also be reported on fixmystreet.com which will formally notify the relevant authority.”

Another resident, who did not give a name, also voiced her concerns at the meeting about the state of some of the bus stops and shelters and dog mess.

She said: “The bus shelter was full of rubbish and leaves and the bus stop sign was filthy.

“The bus shelter is really dirty outside the Greyhound Pub.

“It looks scruffy with leaves and it needs cleaning.”

It has been suggested that a volunteer group could be contacted to help clean up the bus shelters, leaves and rubbish.

Destination Lincolnshire is the official destination management organisation for Lincolnshire, working with partners to grow the county's visitor economy and the company received £60,000 Levelling Up money to help promote South Holland businesses nine months ago. It has been contacted for comment.

Villagers believe more could be done to brighten up the 'gateway to Lincolnshire'
Villagers believe more could be done to brighten up the 'gateway to Lincolnshire'

Its website states: “Destinations are the heart and soul of England’s visitor economy, they are the places people want to visit and experience – and we know what’s needed to make Lincolnshire an attractive destination.

“We work with hundreds of people who run tourism, leisure, hospitality and retail businesses across Greater Lincolnshire. From start-ups and seasoned veterans to family-run businesses and national brands, we all share the same goal - to make Lincolnshire a top 10 destination for leisure and business.”



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