Tuesday 17th September 2019
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Words: Melanie Burton
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the February 2019 issue

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It’s hard to believe when you are driving along Lincolnshire’s busy A17 trunk road, that the towns and villages running parallel to it are anything but small, traditional places offering a tranquil pace of life, writes Melanie Burton.

But take a short diversion and visit the likes of Long Sutton and its near neighbour Sutton Bridge and you soon come to realise there is a lot more to them than meets the eye.

Long Sutton is a picturesque thriving town with a range of busy independent businesses, both new and well established.

The picturesque Georgian market town, renowned for its prize-winning floral displays and regularly named among the best-kept villages in Lincolnshire, is self-sufficient in that anything people need for everyday life is available from the shops and businesses on their doorstep.

With lots of free parking right in the centre of town, easy access to the roads network and all the essential amenities and services on offer, there is no wonder Long Sutton attracts people from far and wide.

It still has a weekly market, although its future came under scrutiny two years ago following a health and safety report prepared for South Holland District Council. But villagers and the parish council banded together to challenge the threat and following a public meeting the proposals were left on the table.

Long Sutton’s market charter can be dated back to 1202 when King John granted the rights for a weekly Friday market when the town was a prosperous trading centre. By the mid-14th century the town had become one of the richest communities in Lincolnshire and prosperity in the area was never very far away.

The traditional street market has continued to the present day, attracting a vibrant mix of stalls and local shoppers from the town and surrounding villages.

Just as the market has been part of the fabric of the village, its long-established independent businesses have too.

Specialist electrical goods supplier and toy shop Pledgers in the Market Place is one of the town’s oldest businesses having been serving the community for 73 years.

A traditional department store offering a wide range of products and delivery services to the local surrounding areas, it was established in 1945 by Dick Pledger, but in 1967 it was bought by Maurice Smith who had worked there since the beginning when he was taken on full-time at the age of 14.

Time Out is another delightful shop which helps add a special character to Long Sutton. Housed in a late 17th century building in the High Street, it is not only pretty on the outside, but inside it is an Aladdin’s cave of gifts and beautiful, attractive looking furniture on the ground floor, with a beauty and hairdressing salon on the upper floor.

Parkway is another long established business which attracts regular visitors from far and wide. A traditional hardware store full to the rafters with your every need, from decorating materials to kitchenware and gardening to leisure, the shop boasts more than 6,000 square foot of display area spread over two floors. It was formed in the mid-1980s by Ted Weightman, who was at the helm of the business until he passed away in 2006, aged 79 years.

Long Sutton is not only a good place for business but is a great place to live and there are plans in the pipeline for a 215-home residential development on land between Seagate Road and the B1359 Wisbech Road.

Long Sutton Parish Council has objected to the plans, saying that the proposal falls outside the development boundary under South Holland District Council’s current plan. But the site has been earmarked as a development site under the emerging South East Lincolnshire Local Plan.

The village of Sutton Bridge lies on the banks of the River Nene, close to the county boundaries with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and is just three miles from The Wash.

With almost 4,000 residents, it has experienced a population influx over the past few years with many new people moving in, mainly from the south of the country, thanks to the reasonable property prices.

The village is located in the midst of a busy arable farming community and much of its local employment opportunities are found at several food processing plants within the area as well as the village’s gas-powered power station.

The first bridge to be built to span the River Nene in 1831 linked the town to Norfolk and ensured more passing trade. Then thirty years later the railway line was extended to the town, linking it to other parts of the country.

A passenger service ran for almost 100 years but in 1959 this was withdrawn, leaving only a goods service between Sutton Bridge and Spalding which operated until 1965.

The main industry for the area is farming, easily brought about by the rich arable land that surrounds the town. This has contributed towards the prosperity of the past and it is reported that back in the 1950s eleven trains would daily transport passengers and local produce to and from the town. Nowadays, as with other towns around the country, smallholders and farmers rely on road transport to take their produce to market, although the busy Friday Market still has a small produce auction which is used by local producers.

Much work goes on in the background to encourage new businesses into the area and following a series of successful and popular workshops throughout 2018, South Holland District Council has ensured there will be more opportunities for anyone looking to start their own business in the district to get the skills and help they need this year. The workshops start this month (February) with a free intensive three-day Starting in Business course in Spalding.

The course, provided by NBV Enterprise Solutions and hosted by South Holland District Council at its Priory Road office, helps to transform ideas into businesses with the help and support of experienced trainers.

STEP OUT WITH CONFIDENCE WITH SPRING COLLECTIONS
Spring collections are arriving daily at Cindy’s, the leading county fashion house based at 108 Bridge Road, Sutton Bridge.

“New ranges always herald the changing season,” said owner Cindy Marritt, “and customers are always eager to come and see what we have in store. This season is already shaping up to be one of our favourites with outstanding collections from some of our favourite brands.”

With four decades of buying and retail experience, Cindy’s collection is chosen with her clients uppermost in her mind. 

“Whatever the occasion – a family wedding, relaxed celebration, sunshine holiday or informal daywear – we can help you step out with confidence and style. Let’s start with those more formal occasions. Weddings can be all day or weekend events now so we have found labels which focus on versatility as well as great design. Ronald Joyce/Veni Infantino offer exceptional British styling with a younger profile, offering great sculptural detail and floral flair; perfect for encore brides as well as Mother of the Bride and guests.”

Izabella is a new British label which offers an attractive price point with flexible, flattering design and fabrics. “Removable capes and jackets over sleeveless or three-quarter sleeve dresses are favourite features which transition an outfit from day to evening celebrations. So adaptable for follow-up occasions such as race days, parties and holidays as well.”

Condici has been a name synonymous with occasionwear for many years and their SS19 revived ‘New Look’ is featured in classic navy and white colourways. Beautiful sculptural, ribbon, lace, beading and pleats also highlight features and soften silhouettes.

Cindy’s Fashions stocks up to size 26 and Lewis Henry have picked striking palettes of blues, fuchsia and gem colours. “In the Frank Lyman collections there are electric blues as well as deep red and a splash of lime. Pastels and especially beige this summer will always be a favourite for weddings but the bolder emerald green, hot pink with contrasting navy, black or white will always reflect spring and summer for me.”

Accessories complete the outfit and statement hats are once more the hottest trend. The headwear displays are brimming with gorgeous designs. Cindy and her team are experts at helping to coordinate your look from head to toe with scarves, bags and jewellery.

Cindy’s invite you to one of three Fashion Shows which they are hosting in the coming weeks to showcase their new season ranges. The events start with an Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show at The Curlew Centre, Sutton Bridge on Wednesday 13th March, followed by a Ladies Lunch and Fashion Show at Boston West Golf Club on Wednesday 27th March and concludes with an Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show at Knights Hill Hotel, Kings Lynn on Wednesday 3rd April.

Call the shop number below to book your tickets or call in today to see the exciting fashion collections for Spring/Summer 2019 at Cindy’s, 108 Bridge Road, Sutton Bridge PE12 9SA, Tel: 01406 350961

COASTAL PATH BOOST
Sutton Bridge and its surrounding area looks set for a tourism boost thanks to the England Coastal Path which, at 2,800 miles, will be the longest managed and waymarked coastal path in the world.

The Sutton Bridge to Skegness section of the path is set to open this year.

The vision for the path came from the Ramblers but Natural England is steering the project to completion, and inviting public comments on the route with a deadline of 21st March.

Stuart Parker, area secretary for Lincolnshire Ramblers, said: “We believe it represents an important addition to our path network and we are sure it will be well used by the public in Lincolnshire.

“One of the main aspects of having a complete coast path in England is to assist with economic regeneration of our coastal regions which can often suffer a downturn out of season. Walking is an all-season activity which will help tourism and we look forward to welcoming walkers to the full Lincolnshire coastline.”

Natural England has investigated a 92 kilometre (57 miles) stretch to improve access to the Lincolnshire coast – to be ready this year.

The proposed route would stay close to the shore, divert into Boston to cross The Haven and into Fosdyke to cross the River Welland and into Sutton Bridge to cross the River Nene.

From Sutton Bridge to the Haven the route will use existing rights of way along the seabank. From The Haven to the Horseshoe, Wrangle, a significant part of the route will be on the outer seabank where there are currently no access rights.

SHOP WITH STYLE
Time Out Gift and Interiors opened its doors for the first time in June 2005 with a limited stock of gift ideas and occasional furniture. Over the years it has gone from strength to strength and now stocks everything you could possibly need in home furnishings and gift ideas.

The brainchild of Shaun Cross, the shop also includes an upstairs area consisting of a hair salon, beauty and nail room managed by his wife Jenny. Products used are Wella and Guinot. Shaun sources most of his stock from major supplier Coachhouse, with pictures and artwork from Art Marketing and Artko. He also offers a picture framing service. New last year was a range of painted and oak furniture from Kettle Interiors.

This year they have also welcomed Lily Jayne Florist who create artful, natural and unstructured arrangements. There is so much more to Time Out, follow them on Facebook.

LARGEST INVESTMENT TO DATE
Food processing company Princes has been granted planning permission to embark on a multi-million pound investment project at its Long Sutton plant.

The site is the company’s largest food production facility, employing almost 500 permanent staff.

The proposal represents the largest investment to date in the site and will see the demolition of a number of existing buildings for the construction of a new Raw Material Handling & Kitchen facility and associated works, including infrastructure and parking to accommodate incoming ingredients.

Princes said in the application that the strategic investment would further strengthen the business’ place in the market and vastly improve the efficiency of operations on site.

The new buildings will be up to 20m tall at the highest point and will be painted in ‘sky’ colours to minimise the effect on the landscape. The roof will also be ‘broken up’ to reduce the bulk and impact of the buildings.

A 3.5m acoustic barrier will be installed along the eastern perimeter and an additional 2.5m acoustic barrier alongside the car park.

Princes initially traded solely in canned fish, but its move into manufacturing in 1946 kick-started its expansion.

Owned by Mitsubishi Corporation since 1989, it has made 22 mergers and acquisitions in 26 years. This, and its ongoing organic growth, has helped it continue to diversify and it is now one of Europe’s leading grocery suppliers.

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