Author Archives: Eric Rayner

Inquiry starts on French Farm turbines

Wind turbine

A planning inquiry starts on March 4 into the application to build four wind turbines at French Farm, French Drove to the north of the village.

The application was being dealt with by Peterborough City Council last year, but was “called in” by the Department of Communities and Local Government and will now be decided by an inquiry.

The application, by REG Windpower, is for four turbines with a maximum height to blade tip of 100 metres; also vehicle access tracks, hard-standing, construction compound and ancillary development. Planning permission has already been granted for two turbines at French Drove and work has started on the bases for those.

As part of the inquiry, a public meeting is being held at the Bedford Hall on Thursday, March 5 starting at 7pm, where members of the public are invited to give their views.

The planning inquiry itself is being held at the Executive Suite, Peterborough United Stadium in London Road, Peterborough and is scheduled to sit for 12 days, starting on March 4. It will run March 4-6; March 10-13; March 17-20 and March 24, although if it has heard all evidence, the inquiry will close earlier. The inquiry opens at 10am and after the first day sittings will commence at 9.30am.

Details of both the planning inquiry and public meeting are listed in the events section on this website.

The French Farm site is one of five sites around Thorney where planning permission has been granted or is being sought in order to build wind turbines. To the east of the village, RES is currently building 13 turbines at Wryde Croft and these will be operational at the end of the year.

There are also applications for turbines at Willowhall and Gores Farm to the south and west. These are being considered by Peterborough City Council.

Thorney photo book snapped up!

John Clarke and Margaret Fletcher selling copies of Thorney in Focus in the Rose & Crown.

Thorney in Focus – a new book of photographs of Thorney and surrounding fens sold out within five-and-a-half days of its launch.

“This was beyond our wildest dreams!” said Margaret Fletcher one of the team who produced the book.

For anyone who missed buying a copy, there’s good news – a reprint has been ordered and there are now more books on sale at £22 each.

Copies are available at Ancarig tea rooms, or ring 01733 270634.

The book was inspired by a photographic book of Peterborough and surrounding villages, produced by the city’s civic society and photographic society. John Clark, who worked on that book, helped with Thorney in Focus and the book was designed and produced by Christopher Lane of Artinfusion, which is based in the village.

Michael Sly, Dorothy Halfhide and Margaret Fletcher of the Thorney Society worked on content and Bert Brookes was final proofreader.

Most of the photographs in the book were taken by John Clark, but others were provided by a number of local people, including Morris Spridgeon, Janet Rook, Michael Sly, Michael Stevenson, Kathie Williams, Darren Grigas, Del Millard, Chris Boucher, Sean Riches, Susan Morris, Mary Herdman, Margaret Dewing, Marion Peacock, Margaret Fletcher and Janice Gordon. A number of images were also supplied by the North Level Drainage Board.

The book has a foreword by His Grace Andrew Russell, the 15th Duke of Bedford, who said: “A most impressive work, quite stunning photography.

“I think it’s a wonderful document which completely captures the essence of the village. It made me homesick for the Fens.”

As well as the book itself, people can also buy mounted prints of any published image. These are available from Christopher Lane at chris@studio123.com in several sizes, mounted. Prices are: 7×5 £4 each or three for £10); A4 £6.50 each (two for £10); A3 £9 each (two for £15).

A spokesman for the Thorney Society said: “An idea, even coupled with enthusiasm, doesn’t guarantee success. This project involved a certain amount of financial commitment and uncertainty, which was taken on board by friends of the Society. It’s lovely to feel that their trust and kindness have been rewarded.

“The generosity of the small team involved were central to the project. Nothing could have been achieved without the huge choice of stunning photographs by John Clarke and the skills of Chris Lane, our graphic designer.

“Nostalgia and curiosity may be encouraging sales, but some of the books have already gone to connections abroad. We hope that people whose family roots are in Thorney will be interested when they make family history enquiries in the future.”

Christopher Lane (of Artinfusion) presents Maurice Spridgeon with a print of Whittlesey Wash, one of Maurice’s photographs for the book.

Christopher Lane (of Artinfusion) presents Morris Spridgeon with a print of Whittlesey Wash, one of Morris’s photographs for the book.

Thorney in Focus is launched at the Christmas Fair at Pigeons Farm. Left to right: Chris Clarke, Michael Sly, John Clarke, Margaret Fletcher, Christopher Lane, Dorothy Halfhide, Susan Morris.

Thorney in Focus is launched at the Christmas Fair at Pigeons Farm. Left to right: Chris Clarke, Michael Sly, John Clarke, Margaret Fletcher, Christopher Lane, Dorothy Halfhide, Susan Morris.

Library to go self-service?

Thorney Library will become part self-service under plans by Peterborough City Council to reduce costs.

The library, in Church Street, is currently open 21 hours per week and is open each day except Sundays and Tuesdays.

Plans put forward by the council will mean the library is open for longer – 25 hours – but it would be staffed for only 10 hours per week. For the rest of the time it would be self-service, with users swiping in using a key card.

It’s not clear whether the current librarian – Jane Ward – will remain in her post.

The plans for Thorney Library are part of a wider plan by the city council to shave more than £350,000 off the costs of running Peterborough libraries.

A council spokesman said the way people were using libraries was changing. More than 90 per cent of book loans are now made using self-service kiosks.

“Library staff now spend much more time helping people to use computers, or supporting groups meeting in libraries, than they do dealing with ‘traditional’ library enquiries. The challenge we face is how to provide an excellent, modern library service, with less money.”

There’s currently a consultation exercise in progress (closing March 20). You can go online to register your views, although the options are to agree to city council proposals or not. There is no other plan apart from the one put forward.

You can read full details of the city council’s plans by clicking here. The link will also provide access to the online survey or you can access it directly by clicking here: survey.

Thorney golf course closes

The 18-hole Fen Course at Thorney Golf Centre closed in January.

Thorney Golf Centre now just has the 18-hole Lakes Course available for play.

The restaurant, function room and bar remain open and the driving range is still in use.

The nine-hole Par 3 course is being extended around the driving range and should be open by early summer this year.

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