Signs wipe village off the map

IT might have been a sign of the times, but villagers were astonished when they saw that council bosses had wiped them off the map.Residents of Stonham Parva, which traces its history back to pre-Roman times, were dismayed to find their village sign had been removed and replaced with a board that welcomed motorists on the A140 to simply The Stonhams.

By John Howard

IT might have been a sign of the times, but villagers were astonished when they saw that council bosses had wiped them off the map.

Residents of Stonham Parva, which traces its history back to pre-Roman times, were dismayed to find their village sign had been removed and replaced with a board that welcomed motorists on the A140 to simply The Stonhams.

The pretty village, near Stowmarket, is often grouped with Earl Stonham and Stonham Aspal as The Stonhams, but remains fiercely proud of its identity and centuries-old history, which villagers said had received a snub from Suffolk County Council.


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Anna Pratt, village recorder for Stonham Parva, said: “Our village has existed since pre-Roman times and it is thanks very much to the Romans that the foundations of the well-known A140 were laid.

“We are proud of our long village history that has been well documented with the village deeds in the record office. Why has Suffolk County Council decided to change our village name? Are new maps going to be printed with this new name?”

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Tony Fowler, an Earl Stonham resident and mid Suffolk district councillor who represents all the Stonhams, said: “There will be a riot on our hands if people suggest Stonham Parva does not exist and is being swallowed up.

“People are proud of their village names and, as Anna says, there is a lot of history to the village. There is an old coaching inn locally and The Magpie has the unique gantry across the road. People cherish their heritage.”

But at the local Post Office and stores next to the A140, owner Colin Buttle said he was unfazed by the saga.

He said: “Some people will get concerned, but this really does not bother me. The whole thing is a storm in a teacup.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for the A140 and the road signs, said they were sorry if residents were upset and added the situation was being remedied.

She said: “The original Stonham Parva sign was combined with a speed limit marker, which was removed as part of the re-signing programme for the revised speed limits on the A140.

“A new sign to mark The Stonhams has been erected north of The Magpie pub and a separate Stonham Parva sign is in the process of being made to replace the original sign.

“We do appreciate that Stonham Parva has its own identity and we hope the villagers don't have to wait too long to have their village back on the map.”

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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