I was one of the 30 members in the public gallery at the Sutton Bridge Parish Council extraordinary meeting on Tuesday, March 7.
Like probably at least half the audience, I was there not as a critic of the marina development, which was the sole item on the agenda, but as a resident who sought some kind of clarification about the continual confusing information that has been bandied about by a few people in recent months.
It became clear very early on that the members of the parish council who were present were opposing the development on spurious grounds largely based on their misunderstanding of the funding arrangements.
However, the invited representatives of the development and their funders did not, or were not invited to, present a case, the assumption presumably being that the people in the public gallery were there to support the council’s opposition.
I personally have no opinion one way or the other. However, I was appalled at the way the chairman, Councillor Brandon-King, denigrated the village of Sutton Bridge and talked in derogatory terms about one particular established business (reported in your March 8 Guardian article “Critics attack marina plans”).
One member of the public suggested that, rather than continually running Sutton Bridge down, the parish council might more usefully spend some time trying to improve things by, say, organising an historical trail (Sutton Bridge has so much interesting history), a museum (the railway featured largely in its history and there are people living in the village who have railway memorabilia) and a permanent art exhibition, amongst other things.
With such attractions, the marina, having already obtained bookings for about 30 places before it is actually built, would no doubt flourish even more.
The chairman’s remarks also imply a lack of support for what is currently being done, namely the work of the volunteers of Sutton Bridge in Bloom, the attractions that are being put on in the new community centre with its volunteer workforce, and the refurbishment of the New Inn.
Following on from the social and historical interest generated by the Bridge Watch website, the parish magazine is asking for articles about residents’ reminiscences.
All this suggests a need in a lot of people for something positive instead of the huge amount of negativity that continues to ooze from the parish council.