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Stuntney - Comments and feedback

from November 2008

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April 22 2011. Another nostalgic email from Sylvia Bell in Australia in response to our report of the apparent vandalism of our Millennium Tree.
"I was sad to read about the alleged (one has to be careful these days) attack on your millennium tree, in Stuntney. And you are right. There is a core of society today, who cannot bear to see anything beautiful, without wanting to destroy it. It is a world wide cancer, which is spreading.
I don’t recall much vandalism when I lived in Stuntney. The only act I can remember, was, sadly, perpetrated by me. I can even remember the day. It was the wedding day of Patsy Fretwell. I was 15 years old.
There were about 10 of us just hanging around, on Lower Road, near the terrace houses, just across from the field behind the council houses, where Owie Ambrose used to put his mares after they had given birth. Along with the most adorable foals.
One of the houses was empty. A very large black Crow had fallen down the chimney and was frantically trying to escape through the closed window. Time and time again it threw itself against the glass, in vain.
Being a devoted animal lover, I picked up a rock and threw it at the window. The glass shattered and the poor bird was able to escape. But I was now in serious trouble with the other village kids. “It’s OK for you’’ said someone. ‘’Your father doesn’t work for Owie. We are all going to be in trouble now.’’
As we were just a few yards from the house of Ted Taylor, I decided I had better go and own up to what I had done.
Most of the others came with me, but once I had knocked on the door, I found myself all alone. The others had melted away
Mrs Taylor opened the door. She of course knew everyone in the village and invited me in. Once inside I burst into tears and told her what I had done. She was a lovely lady and gently told me to go in and tell Mr Taylor what had happened.
Ted Taylor was so nice about it. I told him that any costs would be paid by my father. Which was a bit of a cheek, as Dad didn’t know what had happened yet. I told Mr Taylor that Dad would have done the same thing had he seen the distressed bird.
Mr Taylor said it was a good thing I had broken the window to let out the bird. Otherwise, he said, it may have died in the house and there would have been a very smelly mess to clean up, once it had been found.
Dad didn’t get a bill. And I was still allowed to get sawdust for my white mice, from the small barn next door to the Taylor’s house, which had in it, some sort of mechanical saw.
I know 99% of the kids with me that day would have done the same as me, if their fathers’ had not worked for Owie. But I am sure not one of us would have deliberately wrecked something just for the fun of it.
When my husband and I were in Stuntney, one Saturday, last year, I went to the house where the Taylors had lived. I also looked at the house which had once entrapped the poor Crow. Things were almost the same. Yet different.
There was total silence in the village. No one riding bikes. No children playing on Lower Road. No children playing in Steward Close. The front wall of the Church was not covered in kids, just sitting and talking, looking like a row of cheeky Sparrows. Where were the children of Stuntney on that warm and sunny Saturday afternoon? Let’s hope they were not off somewhere, getting up to mischief.
Cheers. Sylvia Bell. Australia.

December 29th 2010. From ex Stuntney girl Sylvia Bell, who lives in Australia and who has had difficulty in accepting that the present Stuntney Old Hall is on the same site as the original building.

I couldn't wait until my next trip. I had to get this Hall position sorted one way or the other, now. I Googled (as we do) and went on their street site. I got the view of the footpath up Stuntney hill, and, half way up, to the left was the old hall. But it seems so far away from the footpath. The bypass really must create some sort of optical elusion.
We were constantly playing around the old hall and I don't remember thinking that it was a long way to get to the old hall from the footpath. I remember stories of ghosts etc were spread around, but I think that was just to keep us all away.
You must remember Stuntney had around 97 children between the ages of 7 and 16, who roamed the village on a daily basis. Then of course their other children who were older or much younger who we didn't see much of. But I don't remember any vandalism or any such thing going on. We played in and around the farms all day but we did, l admit, get in the way sometimes.
My friend, Jenny and were a pain at threshing time. The terriers were taken to the haystacks to get the rats and mice which ran out as the stack was demolished, and were then shaken to death by the dogs. It was then that Jenny and I went into action, getting as many rats and mice as we could and rescuing them. We used to chase the dogs away with the large sticks which held the stack together. Any injured rats or mice were taken home by me to be brought back to health. The bike shed became an animal hospital for a few day while I tried to keep them all alive, along with rabbits suffering from Myxomatosis, a very cruel and evil drug. I spent much of this time in tears. In the end, Ted Taylor, the farm manager, came round to see Mum and ask her to keep me away from the farm while the threshing was going on. It wasn't a good idea to defy my mother, so I stayed away.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I would hate to live in Stuntney today, with 97 of today's children hanging around. Because something has gone wrong in the raising of children. Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK. It makes no difference. Children have no respect. Full stop.
I will now get off my soapbox and wish you a very Happy New Year. Cheers. Sylvia.

January 9th 2010.
It was fascinating to find the page on your site about the Ambrose Estate, and I hope you will not mind me quoting parts of it on our family genealogy site (which is a family tree with various formatted reports)?
I shall of course give a link back to your site, and will pass you our website coordinates. So far I am keeping it away from search engines, though that may change in due course.
Congratulations on your Stuntney site, which is very well presented.
Yours sincerely Bill Stuart-Bruges

October 2009. The Ely Masterplan and Stuntney - where do we stand?

The Ely Masterplan is currently being debated at District and City Council level and a booklet 'Ely Masterplan Summary - Draft for Consultation' is available from ECDC.
Certain key proposals have emerged from the discussions. The plan envisages the growth in Ely's population from 18,000 today to 27,000 by the year 2031. Councillors accept that the growth is dependent on Ely having the infrastructure to accommodate it, in particular a solution of the traffic problems in the Railway Station area. As Stuntney rsidents well know, a visit to Ely often involves long hold ups at the rail crossing, with rows of HGVs waiting for the crossing gates to open, the resultant cost and frustration is obvious.
The following article is taken from 'Ely Weekly News' of 29th October 2009.

Another matter of particular interest to Stuntney is the forecast of housing development and how our village may be affected. The main growth area is planned to be in the north of Ely, between the Princess of Wales Hospital and the village of Chettisham. Only minor infilling is allowed for in our village. The following is a report from Stuntney resident and County Councillor Nigel Bell:

"I can confirm that Stuntney will remain 'infill' only and that the Inspector rejected the proposals to expand the development envelope of the village. The village is classified as a 'Smaller Village' which means that 'housing schemes of up to 2 dwellings may be appropriate if all other matters can be satisfied'
With regard to the Southern Bypass it looks as though they are now trying to find a new, cheaper and shorter route for the road which doesn't require a high viaduct over the river. I have not seen any plans as yet. 30/10/09"

February 16th 2009.
Letter from CCC received in response to complaint from a Stuntney resident about the inoperative highway lights along Stuntney Causeway.

I would like to apologise for the delay in responding to you. I will immediately speak to our contractors, who I'm hoping will be able to advise accordingly with regards to the current status of the faults at the above location. I will look into this, and notify you in due course with correct details of the current situation.
Lori-Anne White CCC Street Lighting Technical Assistant.

December 20th 2008
From Sylvia Bell in Australia
I am a little lost as to why there is so much opposition to the new houses. What are the concerns? I knew Stuntney 45 years ago when it was buzzing. Now it seems like a ghost town. Have a safe and happy Christmas. Sylvia Bell

December 2008.
Reply to above from Rodney Vincent.
Interesting to have your views Sylvia. although I can't say I agree. Villages are different places to what you remember. Car ownership and the proximity of supermarkets means that there is little demand for shop services, village schools are no more and pubs are having a thin time owing to supermarket cheap drinks. Home entertainments such as TV and computers have all added to the decline. It is not easy to maintain a community spirit in the village, with the Social Club and the Church the chief meeting places.
It is my view that a greatly increased population would give little hope of new facilities or that our village life would be enhanced. Experience in other villages has shown that where new mini estates are built the occupants simply use the village as a dormitory and take little part in village activities.
Perhaps I am being cynical but that's what I have observed.
If groups of new houses are built the occupants tend not to see themselves as really belonging to the village, whereas just two or three new houses mixed in with the existing gives a much better chance of integration. It's a question of what a small village can absorb without drastically changing its nature.

December 23rd 2008.
Reply by Sylvia Bell
I understand and agree with some of the things you have stated above but, Stuntney cannot become an enclave for the retired.
I lived in Steward Close and I know we all felt part of the village. How could you not?
I take on board your comment of concern that new houses may change the nature of the village. But you did not define just what the nature of Stuntney is these days.
I was not born in the village, but I became part of the village eventually. Even now, 45 years down the track, I still visit Stuntney, online each week, to see what is going on. The place grows on you, and even though I am 13,000 miles away, in Australia, I am still interested in what is happening and I always will be.
That is why I have felt so sad when ever I have visited Stuntney on my trips to the UK. No matter what the time of day, there is never a soul around. The village needs more people living in it, to bring it to life again.
I think your idea of having new houses interspersed between existing ones is a good one and the reasons you gave made sense. So please, don't totally oppose the plan for Stuntney. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Put forward ideas and see what happens.
my comments are all made out of genuine affection for Stuntney.
Cheers. Sylvia.

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