Fundraising fete cancelled due to county council's roadworks

A village fete to raise vital funds for its church and village hall has had to be cancelled due to “surprise” road works.

The fete would have raised funds for Thimbleby Church.
The fete would have raised funds for Thimbleby Church.

Thimbleby Fete, organised by the Friends of Thimbleby Village, was scheduled to take place this Sunday (September 11) and was aiming to raise funds towards the restoration of St Margaret’s church, as well as a £100,000 revamp of the village hall.

On top of demonstrations of cottage building using wood and mud to mirrors the techniques and materials used in the building of the village’s 17th century cottages, a Banovallum Brass performance, an exhibition of the church spire’s construction and a bee demonstration, the fete was scheduled to host children’s games and stalls – but now all this has had to be cancelled with just a week to go.

The issue is, the organisers say, that Lincolnshire County Council failed to inform them that Western Power Distribution (WPD) would be carrying out seven weeks’ work on the B1190 that runs through the village, including outside the church where the fete was due to be held.

The first the Friends knew of the closures, he said, was a letter through their doors on August 25 – just days after they had contacted LCC to check for road works – to say that the works would commence on August 29 for seven weeks and that would see overhead power cables along the B1190 removed and placed underground.

These works have begun at around the church site, and as the fete was to be held on the paddock opposite the church, with parking adjacent to the paddock, and on Friday (September 1) the Friends committee took the decision to cancel the fete.

"We’re very disappointed, particularly as we rang the council in both July and August – just two weeks ago – to check if there were going to be any road works planned and they said no,” said Paul Devlin, secretary of the Friends, “It’s quite incredible that the council didn’t tell us.

"We had everything all ready to go and I’ve spent hours ringing people to cancel everything.”

Paul said: “There would be nowhere to park and as many people come from lots of other village and Horncastle itself, but they won’t come if they can’t park, and it’s a safety hazard if nothing else.”

The fete would have raised vital funds for the village, as not only is the village hall in need of a £100,000 revamp to replace the hall kitchen and toilets, but the church spire has needed to be removed and the spire and tower reconstructed.

In 2010, the church faced closure due to unsafe stonework and electrical wiring and with thanks to the local community an enormous fundraising effort began to save the church. In 2016, the church received it’s first grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and in 2018 the rebuild of the tower and spire took place.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire County Council said: “We received an event application for this on 23rd August, WPD’s cable reinforcement project started on August 30 and had been permitted since July 6.

"WPD carried out a letter drop to the whole village prior to commencement of their work.

“We made the event organiser aware of WPD’s work on September 1 upon assessing the event application. The event organiser also contacted the WPD technician managing the job directly on August 30.

"WPD told them they would do anything needed to accommodate the event and didn’t see their works being an issue.”