Category Archives: News

Heart attack – ring 999, then 530503


Thorney now has a Volunteer Emergency Telephone Service to help in the event of anyone suffering from a heart attack in the village.

VETS (Volunteer Emergency Telephone Service) has been set up by the Keep Thorney Beating campaign which raised funds this year to buy a defibrillator for the village.

It came into being this week when its dedicated telephone number – 530503 – went live.

Keep Thorney Beating organiser Lynn Batterbee explains how it works:

“If anyone suffers a heart attack, the first call should be 999 for an emergency ambulance. When you give them details of where you live, they will tell you that there is a defibrillator in the village at the Medical Centre and will give you a code to allow you to open the cabinet and take it out.

“The VETS service is there to help. People wouldn’t want to leave a loved one who is ill or they may not be able to leave because they are giving CPR.

“They can phone the VETS number and someone from the village will respond by bringing the defibrillator to their home and helping them use it if needed.”

Lynn stresses that the VETS number should be used only in the event of a heart attack or suspected heart attack. The volunteers are not paramedics or first aiders and have been trained only in how to operate the defibrillator.

Thirteen people from the village have volunteered to be responders. When you ring 530503, it rings all of their telephones and when one picks up, all the others stop ringing.

“We really hope none of this will ever be needed,” says Lynn, “but if it is we hope we’ve put in place equipment and a help network that can save someone’s life.”


Thorney helps Syrian refugees


Thorney responded with generosity when a local couple decided to try to put together bags of clothes and provisions for refugees of the Syrian civil war.

Matt and Claire Ratcliff, who live in Whittlesey Road, were overwhelmed by the kindness of villagers and they managed to put together 120 bags, plus a large number of blankets, coats and other warm clothes.

Their house was turned into a sorting and packing centre for a week and, with help from friends, donations were sorted into bags for babies, children, women and men.

There were also more than 50 blankets, duvets, sleeping bags and eiderdowns donated; plus winter coats, cardigans, fleeces, jumpers and scarves.

The idea of using strong zip-top bags to pack the clothes, means that refugees also get a useful waterproof bag which will help keep things dry in the refugee camps.

Matt and Claire drove the bags down to a charity in London called Anaya Aid and they are now on their way overland to Kehanley on the Turkish/Syrian border. From there, the Red Crescent distributes bags to those in need.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who helped and all those people who donated clothes, bedding and cash,” said Claire. “It was absolutely fantastic.”

Claire decided to try to help Syrian refugees after hearing a documentary on Radio 4 and not content with her efforts so far, she and Matt are planning a second collection in November, so if you have warm clothes or blankets don’t get rid of them yet.

She and Matt have also organised a charity concert at Childers in Whittlesey on November 19. Full details are on the Thorney Post events page.

Steel fabrication business not suited to residential area

A STEEL fabrication business run from the old Peacock’s site in Station Road may be investigated by Peterborough City Council’s environmental health department.

The business – Moore Steel Development – makes large steel support structures and has attracted complaints from nearby homes due to its 24-hour operation.

It has been checked by city council planners, but planning permission was granted back in 1989 for general industrial use which includes the current activity and there are no restrictions on hours of operation.

Tony Whittle, compliance officer said: “In my view this activity is totally unsuitable in a residential area and would never get consent today. However, the original permission still applies and cannot be revoked.

“I have advised the company that although there are no planning conditions restricting hours of operation I would be notifying Environmental Health to see if they are able to investigate this matter.”

In the meantime, the operators have said that anyone with particular concerns can call on 270729 to see if they can be resolved. Callers should ask for Damien Moore.

Any unwanted toys?

Rendering of simple children's toys. Wooden alphabet cubes spelling word toys, wooden pyramid puzzle and a colorful ball.

Do you have any unwanted toys? Thorney Pre-School is holding a fund-raising toy sale and coffee morning in the Community Centre, Church Street on Saturday and is keen to hear from anyone with toys to donate.

You can drop them off at the Pre-School any day before 2.30pm or e-mail

£200 a year off electricity bills for 340 homes

Wind turbine

More than 340 homes in and around Thorney will get £200 a year off their electricity bills.

It is part of the community benefit paid by operators of wind turbines and will be available to people living or working within approximately 3km of the turbines at Wryde Croft Wind Farm – currently under construction to the north east of Thorney.

The Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS) has been developed by green electricity generator RES for communities hosting its wind farms.

The scheme is open to all residential, business and community buildings (including schools, places of worship and village halls) within the eligible area that are on mains electricity when the scheme is launched. The annual discount is paid once the wind farm is fully operational.

Alison Jones, Community Relations Manager for RES, said: “The scheme seeks to deliver direct and tangible benefits to people living and working closest to our wind farms in the form of a discount to their electricity bills.

“Feedback from communities near both existing and potential development sites has highlighted that people see cheaper electricity as a practical benefit of hosting a wind farm. We have introduced LEDS successfully at other sites around the UK and I’m delighted that people living and working near Wryde Croft Wind Farm will be among those to benefit from cheaper electricity as the result of hosting a wind farm.”

LEDS at Wryde Croft is being offered in addition to a Community Benefit Fund of at least £52,000 per year for investment in local community projects. Together the two initiatives provide a total package of £130,000 per year in community benefits at Wryde Croft Wind Farm.

RES will write to the 340 or so properties around the site that would be eligible to receive the electricity discount under LEDS, offering people the opportunity to register for the scheme. There is no need for participants to change electricity supplier to benefit and participation is entirely voluntary. The discount is paid directly to the relevant electricity supplier for the duration of the operational life of the wind farm.

“The discount, which is index linked, will be paid for the full operational life of the wind farm, which is 25 years, so that amounts to a direct benefit of at least £5,000 per property,” said Alison. “If someone moves out of an eligible property during that time, then the annual discount will become available to the new electricity bill payer for the property.”

Wryde Croft Wind Farm is scheduled for completion by early 2016 and, once operational, it will be capable of generating enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of more than 15,000 homes.

Stalls available for Christmas market

Christmas market

There are still some stalls available for the Christmas market at the Bedford Hall on November 29.

The market will be held inside the hall (so it’s warm and dry) and it’s free entry for the public.

Money raised from stall hire will go towards the local charity Something for the Solomons, which is supporting education in the Solomon Islands.

Organiser, Margaret Fletcher says she’s looking a a few high-class craft stalls to complete numbers. Anyone interested can call 01733 270634.

Village appeal to help Syrian refugees

Claire Ratcliff with one of the bags for Syria

Thorney couple Matt and Claire Ratcliff are organising a village appeal to try to put together bags of clothes and supplies for Syrian refugees.

They are buying special zip-top bags and want people to volunteer to make up a bag.

Alternatively, if you can’t do that, then any clothes – especially warm clothes – or cash will be welcome.

They decided to take direct action after listening to a news item on Radio 4 and are working with a charity called Anaya Aid. This is a registered UK charity which takes donated shoes, clothing and other essential items to Turkey, where it is distributed to Syrian refugees.

“Many people are walking hundreds of miles to find refuge. We are approaching winter and these poor people will be desperately cold, so warm clothes and shoes are urgently needed,” said Claire.

They are hoping to put together 100 bags and the idea of using a sturdy, zip-top bag is that it can be used afterwards to keep clothes and other items dry and safe. Claire is asking for a donation of 75p to cover the cost of the bag and she’s happy to drop them round to people in the village and to collect them.

“We haven’t got much time; these people are in desperate need, so we want to get these bags onto the next container, which means we have a deadline of Tuesday next week (September 29),” said Claire.

If you are able to help or would like more information, Claire and Matt can be contacted on 270611 or 07454 820426. Their e-mail address is

Now council should reject other wind farm proposals …

Wind turbine

Thorney Parish council has urged planners to reject proposals for other wind farms near the village.

Following yesterday’s news that the French Drove wind frarm extension had been blocked by the Secretary of State, the parish council issued this statement:

“Thorney Parish Council is very pleased that the immense efforts made by local opposition groups, parishioners, City Councillors and Stewart Jackson, have resulted in the Secretary of State refusing permission for the installation of 4x100metre high wind turbines at French Farm, French Drove.

“As they are opposed for many of the same reasons and with equal determination by the local community and their representatives, we trust that the wind farm applications at Gores Farm and the adjacent Willow Hall Farm sites will be similarly rejected, when the City Council determines the outcome of these two applications.”

MP says wind farm decision is victory for community


Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson (pictured) issued this statement following news that the government had rejected plans for additional wind turbines at French Drove.

“I’m really pleased at the decision by HM Planning Inspectorate which vindicated all our efforts.

“It shows that if the community works together with a strong argument and marshals their case well, then a poor and inappropriate application can be defeated by the existing planning system.

“That said, had the Secretary of State not responded to my request to use his powers to Call In the plans, it might have been a very different story.

“I’m not against wind turbines full stop – but they have to be placed in appropriate locations and these were not.

“I’d like to thank all those on the campaign team – especially Don and Julie Turner.”

Stewart Jackson played a critical role in helping block the French Drove wind farm. Plans for four more turbines had been approved by Peterborough City Council when Mr Jackson intervened and persuaded Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the Conservative/Liberal government, to block the decision and send it to a planning inquiry.

By the time the inquiry had made its recommendations, a new government was in power and onshore wind turbines faced a tougher test to win approval.

Eric Pickles’ successor Greg Clark decided the French Drove plans did not meet that tougher test.

French Drove wind farm blocked by government

Land at French Farm, French Drove - site of a proposed six-turbine wind-farm.

Planning permission for an expanded wind farm at French Drove has been blocked by the government.

The rejection of the scheme by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government comes despite recommendations from Peterborough City Council and the Planning Inspector that the turbines should be built.

His decision now means it is highly likely that plans for other wind farms at Gores Farm and Willowhall will be dropped.

The principal reason for the rejection of the four turbines at French Drove was the visual impact, so it seems the Gores Farm/Willowhall wind farm, which would comprise 14 turbines, would have no chance of clearing the planning process.

Residents opposing the French Drove expansion were lucky that the planning process was interrupted by the general election and a change of policy regarding onshore wind generation.

The turbines were originally given planning permission by Peterborough City Council, but Peterborough MP, Stewart Jackson, asked for that decision to be called in by the government, which meant a full planning inquiry had to be held.

Despite the planning inspector John Braithwaite recommending approval, the change in government policy meant that minister Greg Clark was able to go against his inspector’s advice.

Energy company REG Windpower, does have planning permission for two turbines at French Farm, French Drove and has started work on those. Bases have been installed, but work stopped when they decided to apply for permission to build four more turbines. It is now unclear whether the company will continue with the two turbines which have permission, or abandon the project.

In rejecting planning permission Greg Clark made it clear that the principal reason was the visual impact on local properties. In his written report rejecting the application, he states: “The Secretary of State notes the significant adverse impact on some residents and concludes that the adverse impacts, in his planning judgment, result in unacceptable overbearing impact on nearby property and therefore amount to non-compliance with policy.”

The minister did agree that the development had negligible impact on Crowland Abbey, Thorney Abbey or the Crowland and Thorney conservation areas. He also rejected concerns about the impact of turbines on radar systems guiding planes into RAF Wittering airbase.

“Having weighed up all relevant considerations, the Secretary of State concludes that the factors which weigh in favour of the proposed development do not outweigh its shortcomings and the conflict identified with the development plan and national policy. He considers that there are no material considerations of sufficient weight which would justify granting planning permission.”

There is still the possibility that REG Windpower may apply to the High Court to challenge the validity of the Secretary of State’s decision. They have six weeks to make that challenge.

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