Letters: Toney Sheppard, May 3, 2016

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I read with amazement an article in the Visitors’ Guide about Thornham which describes it as being “an unspoilt village overlooking the marsh”.

I’m not sure this is an accurate description. When I moved to Thornham nearly 50 years ago it had four shops – two grocery shops, one of which housed the bakery, a butcher’s and a post office – all now gone. These appear to have been replaced by the deli and the village also had two garages with workshops and petrol pump, which now sadly have been sold and turned into holiday homes for the better off and investors as bolt holes from the city to play at country life for a while and drive four by fours which do not appear to have any off-road capability at all because if you meet them on a narrow lane, they appear not to want to mount a grass verge or anywhere mildly off-road.

The village is not a village any more, it is a playground for those who can buy a piece and declare it theirs. Small cottages and original buildings are defaced, or worse demolished in favour of four or five bedroomed characterless monstrosities.

In winter we are ghost towns where the locals are left to live but no longer thrive due to inflated house prices, lack of employment opportunities and low paid work. Schools close and young people move away. An unspoilt village overlooking the marsh it isn’t, a spoilt village overlooking the local traditions and people it is.

Toney Sheppard

The Green, Thornham