At the southern gateway

Dining Out

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
February 2017

Nestled within south Lincolnshire are two villages close but distinct from each other.
While the picturesque village of Long Sutton has a plethora of long-established family run independent shops and businesses, its near neighbour Sutton Bridge has more of a commercial bias.

Running parallel to the busy A17 trunk road you can be forgiven for thinking they are sleepy backwaters, but pay them a visit and you soon realise what little gems they are.

Located on the southeastern fringes of the county, Long Sutton is a pretty Georgian market town with a vibrant and active though small community.

Although close to the larger market towns of King’s Lynn, Wisbech and Peterborough, it has such a diverse range of independent retailers that you can buy everything you need for everyday life, plus a lot more.

Sheila Tiller is a familiar sight in the Market Place, having opened in October 1978. With two branches of the business just yards away from each other, it is quick and easy to acquire a complete outfit from head to toe for that special occasion, or just for day-to-day wear.

Long Sutton’s name is derived from old English, with Sutton meaning village to the south and Long being a description of a long straggling village.

The town has a thriving Friday Market dating back to the early thirteenth century when the town was a prosperous trading centre. By the mid-fourteenth century the town had become one of the richest communities in Lincolnshire. Prosperity in the area was never very far away over the centuries.

Just a few miles up the road from Long Sutton is Sutton Bridge, which is known as the ‘Gateway to Lincolnshire’, and is both a village and civil parish with a population of approximately 4,000 inhabitants.

Situated in southeastern Lincolnshire and located on the west bank of the River Nene, close to the county borders with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, it does not appear to be as vibrant as its picturesque neighbour but nevertheless still has lots to offer.

Being located at the end of 88 miles of navigable waterway along England’s tenth longest river and providing connection to the Wash with its plethora of wildlife should be enough to establish Sutton Bridge as a Mecca for leisure boaters.

But factor in a connection with famous engineers such as Thomas Telford and Robert Stephenson and an engineering heritage dating back to 1827 then it is hard to understand why more boaters don’t seek to visit this part of Britain.

Sutton Bridge and its surrounding area has recently seen an influx of new residents, mostly from the southern part of the United Kingdom which has resulted in a healthy housing construction and improvement plan.

Soon it will be enjoying an influx of visitors from far and wide, thanks to the long-awaited £900,000 marina plan, which is finally taking shape and is about to become a reality.

The new Crosskeys Marina will cater for up to twenty leisure boats and adjacent commercial moorings will ensure that both the Nene navigation pilot boat and Eastern IFCA (a fisheries protection agency) can remain based in Sutton Bridge.

Each mooring point will provide boaters with electricity and water connections at the tie-up point, while a car park will allow marina users to leave their cars safely off the road while tending their boats.

Development of the new marina has been undertaken by Lincolnshire County Council and early indications are that moorings will be quickly snapped up.

An opportunity for private sector investment to extend the marina to meet demand has also been identified.

Crosskeys Marina is a positive investment for the local community, which is ideally situated for access to both The Wash and the inland waterway network. Located on the River Nene, the leisure facility will cater for local boaters providing a ‘Gateway to the County’.

Good progress is being made on Crosskeys Marina, an impressive new gateway to the county.

In a change from the norm, the pontoons were floated down the River Nene from Wisbech, reducing the need for HGV journeys and creating something of a local spectacle.

Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “I’m very pleased with the progress that has been made so far, and am confident the marina will be up and running well before the next boating season.

“We’ve already had a lot of interest from the boating fraternity, with over seventy people having applied to rent a mooring. We anticipate the project will lead to increased visitor numbers, many of whom will be using local shops, pubs and restaurants. We also expect to see opportunities arise for businesses providing services for the boating community.

“This will provide a significant boost to the local economy, something that will benefit businesses and residents alike.”

The project was driven by Nene Marina CIC (Community Interest Company), with funding coming from Lincolnshire County Council, a Section 106 community development fund for Sutton Bridge, and two commercial users.

One of the major employers in Sutton Bridge is Bakkavor, which also operates sites in Holbeach and Spalding.

Specialising in making and developing private label prepared foods for the top global grocery retailers and well-known international food service operators, it is a market leader in 11 of its 16 UK markets and it employs more than 18,000 people worldwide.

As Sutton Bridge looks forward to a new lease of life through its new marina, a new fish processing business is up and running in the village following a seal of approval from South Holland District Council’s food safety team.

One Fish Company, based in Millennium Way, Wingland, was granted full approval as a Food Business Establishment, following visits from the council’s food safety officers.

They ensured that the firm’s equipment and facilities met with legislation and were able to advise staff on correct food safety procedures.

The firm stores, labels and dispatches salmon to supermarkets and, having moved to the site at the start of 2016, were keen to start trading as quickly as possible.

Any company that handles or prepares food products of animal origin which are not being sold directly to customers must be approved by the local authority.

The council is also committed to attracting and supporting new businesses to help the economy develop and grow and create new jobs in the area.

Alex Stewart, operations manager for One Fish, said: “It only took a few months to get this operation up and running and that’s thanks largely to the council’s food safety team.

“They were fully co-operative and supportive from the outset, allowing us to focus on the many other tasks involved with setting up a new business.”

Malcolm Chandler, the council’s portfolio holder for food safety, said: “We are keen to welcome new businesses to the district and give them the help and support they require to establish themselves.

“In this case it is particularly pleasing that the company was able to start trading within in a matter of months and is employing local people.”

One of the great things about Long Sutton is the unique independent traders that you find there.

Time Out is one great example of a delightful shop which helps add a special character to the village.

Housed in a late seventeenth-century building in the High Street, it is not only pretty on the outside, but it is an Aladdin’s cave inside, full of gifts and beautiful, attractive looking furniture.

That is just on the ground floor. Upstairs is a beauty and hairdressing salon which adds a new dimension to the shop.

Shaun Cross and his wife Jenny opened the business twelve years ago and they don’t rest on their laurels.

“There is new furniture coming in and I will be going to the spring show in a couple of months’ time,” Shaun explained.

“Nothing new has happened but things have gone well.

“A lot of people come from the surrounding areas because we have a few niche shops and a busy market on a Friday.”

Time Out is a family business, with Shaun running the downstairs shop and his wife Jenny being in charge of the beauty salon.

“We have been open twelve years and things are going well,” said Shaun. “We now do picture framing. We have been doing it for the past two to three years and it has gone pretty well.”

Having a beauty salon upstairs pays dividends for the shop downstairs.

“It is quite unusual but it works well,” said Shaun.

“People have to come through the shop to get upstairs to the salon. so I always have people coming in and it is like having passing trade.

“Some ladies even come down from the salon with foils in their hair to have a look round while they are having their hair done. It all helps and it works well.”

Time Out attracts customers from far and wide and has a lot of regular customers.

“I get a lot of repeat custom,” explained Shaun. “They keep coming back and come from as far afield as Lincoln and Nottingham. We also get people who have holiday homes in Norfolk but live in Lincoln who call in on their way through.”

The most popular thing at the moment is painted furniture and clocks are also now a big thing.

“Once upon a time clocks were just clocks but now we sell a lot of clocks because they are statement pieces now.”

Though Long Sutton is not really the place for trends to become popular, it seems hares have cracked it.

“Hare pictures and cushions are big trends,” explained Shaun. “I don’t know what it is about them but in the last two years I have sold 100 pictures of hares.

“I started selling them two years ago last autumn and within two weeks of stocking them they had all gone.”

Cindy Marritt was busy receiving deliveries of her Spring/Summer 2017 ranges when Lincolnshire Life visited. Always an exciting time but Cindy found a moment to give us a glimpse of what will be in store this month.

“I think the predominant trend this year is for strong geometric patterns, combined with botanical decoration. Fabrics for dresses by Eroke, an Italian label, combine beautiful monochrome framing against bright floral palettes.

“Frank Lyman, a firm favourite with many of our clients, features dazzling separates and dresses, flattering in shape and eye catching in design.

“We also love the soft and free flowing layering of many of the tops and T shirts this year. Cool, stylish and versatile, both Doris Streich and Personal Choice are in stock, with tops which can take you from the beach to the restaurant or from cruising to city sightseeing.”

More collections are arriving daily, including ranges from Lebek, Orientique, Sonia Pena, Rabe, Eugen Klein, Betty Barclay and new to our showrooms will be Condici. Be sure to visit Cindy’s at Long Sutton to be spoilt for choice.

Join Cindy and her team of models for a Spring Fashion Show followed by Afternoon Tea at The Curlew, Sutton Bridge on Wednesday 15th March. The show begins at 1pm. Tickets cost £12.50. This show has become immensely popular so make sure you book your tickets early on 01406 350961 to avoid disappointment.

Established in 1973, Colin Whitmore are a small independent retailer. We pride ourselves on our service, which we think is second to none.

Our showroom covers 14,000 sq ft on two floors, with sofas, chairs, bedsteads, divan beds, bedroom furniture, dining sets, sideboards, bookcases, carpets, curtains and blinds.

Come and browse and enjoy a cup of filter coffee, you will not be pestered by hungry salesmen but will be met with a friendly smile from myself and my staff.

Our winter sale is in full swing with greatly reduced prices and we will always try to price match whenever possible. We also deliver for free within a 50-mile radius.

You will find our recently updated website at this is purely an introduction to our business as we are a well established store and not internet traders.

Disasters or major emergencies can strike suddenly, unexpectedly and anywhere.

Suttons on the Wash (SoTW) is a community led self-help group mentored by Lincolnshire County Council’s Emergency Planning & Business Continuity Service. Its purpose is to help prepare our community for an emergency and therefore reduce its impact. Making a plan will reduce the impact of any emergency on our community and help ensure our response is effective and proportionate.

We aim to provide support during an emergency, particularly to those that may be vulnerable, and to provide local information to responding emergency services when they arrive. This will be achieved by opening and staffing an Information/Place of Safety where appropriate (Reception Centre). Training staff that are involved in emergency planning and response is fundamental to strengthen the ability to handle any type of emergency.

The SoTW group has a plan that needs to be tested to validate both the content and the roles undertaken by the group members. We are letting the Lutton Community know that we will be setting up a Place of Safety/Reception Centre as part of an exercise – taking place in February in Lutton Village. The SoTW Community Plan and the Lutton planned exercise are supported by our County, District and Parish Councils.

There will be more than fifty people taking part in this exercise from a range of organisations, community and voluntary groups as well as observers. There are a number of processes and capabilities that we want to address as part of this exercise to strengthen the Community Plan for the future.

Exercise Luctone, (‘Luctone’ chosen as it was the former name for Lutton Village as mentioned in the Domesday Book 1086), can involve members of the Lutton Community working alongside the Suttons on the Wash team.

Tucked away on the edge of Sutton Bridge, the golf club was established some 102 years ago and based on a redundant Victorian Wet Dock, adjacent to the River Nene. Over the years, it has developed into a fine nine-hole course renowned for excellent greens all the year round. The course is well-drained and rarely closes even in the most inclement weather. Today, the course is well-wooded with tall poplar and willow trees defining the holes, which are all very different in character.

We believe that we have a lot to offer: a wonderfully mature golf course; a friendly welcome; excellent practice facilities with its driving range; and a clubhouse which has been revitalised by a new caterer and a committee prepared to open its doors to the local community.

We are pleased to welcome more members and visitors, and to show what the club has to offer. You don’t have to be a golfer! You could be someone interested in finding out more about the nineteenth-century engineering disaster which made Sutton Bridge Golf Club possible. Tours of the golf course can be arranged for interested parties at a modest price.

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