COMMENT: Lyn of Littleport

Lyn Gibb-de Swarte

Lyn Gibb-de Swarte - Credit: Archant

I was torn this week between telling you about the parlous state of non-accessibility for wheelchair users on trains from Littleport - even if they can get assistance with a portable ramp up into the carriage they end up parked by the usually smelly toilet for the duration of their journey!

Or the help being given to semi-conscious bees needing succour, from residents who see them all right by spoon-feeding them with sugar water.

Or the problem for shopkeepers who aren’t being allowed to either keep the shutters they have installed, or are refused leave to put some in after being burgled twice since they set up as a convenience shop.

Mr and Ms Poopalsingam and their family recently moved to the village and became proprietors of Costcutter only for their stock of cigarettes and alcohol to twice fall prey to thieves finding it easy to break in.

They applied for permission to install burglar-proof shutters, but were refused by East Cambs District Council!

Apparently, it’s in a ‘conservation area’! Rima, proprietor of the village’s Eastern European delicatessen has got shutters, but has now been ordered to remove them.

Given the comparatively small number of retail establishments trading, albeit robustly, wouldn’t you agree they are all entitled to secure their premises against being robbed of their stock and earnings?

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Perhaps the wonderful ‘Bargain Centre’ with its stock of old-fashioned substantial underwear, and its linen and sundry home-wares etc, doesn’t need shutters as it’s unlikely to be a target for the ne’er-do-wells’ attentions, whose sights are fixed on food shops that also purvey fags and drink.

The problem is that if all our shopkeepers don’t feel they can protect their livelihoods in the interest of a spurious asceticism, they may decide to close and relocate.

Our village is growing, and as well as all the benefits that accrue, it carries a commensurate percentage risk of big city malaise!

As newcomer Anastascia Macnamara says; “When I moved up from London one of the main things I noticed was that shops didn’t have shutters, especially shutters covered in graffiti. I had never seen a shop without them!”

This rather austere, working village, isn’t exactly the kind that television period dramas are filmed in, unless it’s about rural starvation and deprivation.

‘Riot in the Blood’ by Cambridge Filmworks springs to mind. So, what’s wrong with night-time shutters if they deter 21st Century well-fed thieves?