COMMENT: Griggs of Soham by Geoff Griggs

Griggs of Soham

Griggs of Soham - Credit: Archant


You can’t disagree with Councillor James Palmer’s assertion that “We need to get building” to house our young people. Actually if you have a look around Soham you would think that we have been building quite a bit over the past few years, but you do wonder if all the homes on the allotments on Fordham Road and between the Shade and Mereside are there for our young people.

I understand that several of the houses are foreign owned on a “buy to rent” basis, which is not helping anyone apart from the absentee landlords’ bank accounts. Also it seems that the planners are more partial to large schemes by out of town developers than they are to local people building individual homes.

There were two examples of this in last week’s “Standard” one house in Queensway in Soham and two plots in Wicken were refused as they would harm the “character and appearance of the area” in both cases. It would appear that if a planner gets a phrase he or she likes they stick to it.

It makes you wonder if the two proposed developments of over 420 homes between them will actually enhance the appearance of our town.

Presumably with the desire to turn off half the street lights in town the new estates won’t be equipped with lights in the first place but, if things run true to form, each site will get a bus stop like the one on Fordham Road where buses never stop. Or they could get a bus shelter like the one on Townsend which is hundreds of yards from the bus stop. Not to worry, either would be good for the character of the area!


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Jake the spaniel enjoys nothing better than a good sniff while he’s wandering the streets of Soham. He prefers natural smells, but is receptive to anything.

Consequently he is quite apt to poke his face into anything that stimulates his olfactory senses. Which means that Jake is actually fairly fascinated by litter, especially the McDonald’s bag that has recently appeared on the path on Tanners Lane.

However, being a responsible individual, Jake is totally opposed to litter in the first place and, if he had hands, would applaud the two recent developments on the litter front.

Firstly it is proposed that everyone collects litter to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday in April. Exactly why the dear lady wants thousands of black sacks for her birthday confuses Jake a bit, but he doesn’t presume to question her motives.

The second move is a bit more puzzling. It is proposed to double the fine for dropping litter. Jake can’t see how this would work as he can’t see who would do the fining given the total lack of police officers and their blue hatted colleagues on the streets these days. Of course, people could just stop throwing rubbish about.


I had one early present just before Christmas. On the 24th I had an appointment at the eye clinic at Bury hospital to check on the progress of my sight since the stroke with a view to possibly driving again.

My eyes are no better and are unlikely to get any better. Thank goodness for the bus pass! All is not lost, though. I am now the proud owner and pilot of a lightweight mobility scooter which means that I can now climb the hill from home to the cemetery without feeling as if my lungs are on fire.

Now that I have realised that you have to charge the battery regularly I am not expecting to find myself marooned with a dead scooter by the side of the road ever again!

Sitting as you travel as opposed to walking gives you a whole new view of the world. For instance the other day I was travelling towards town when I noticed at least eight copies of the same leaflet all over the path.

Ironically they were the leaflets that are usually attached to wheelie bins informing householders of the draw for recyclers.


Looking at the plight of the poor devils in the north of England and southern Scotland makes you realise how lucky we are in this area that our flood defences were sorted out in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

You can bet that the money would not be available these days. Of Soham Snr spent his whole working life with the river board so I had a few insights into the way water was managed.

It seemed that there was always work going on along the raised banks of the rivers, drains and lodes, usually renewing the batters with fresh clay.

In those days the little grey tipper lorries were a familiar sight. The miniature trains that ran along the banks were a little rarer, though.

The waterways seemed constantly to be being cleared of silt and weeds so that any excess water had a clear passage to larger rivers. Now we very seldom see any maintenance happening. Thank goodness for the foresight of the engineers of the past.