Nestled between Scunthorpe and the Humber Bridge is the 5,000-inhabitant market town of Winterton.
It can be overshadowed by Scunthorpe and bustling Barton, all served by the 350 Humber Fastcat bus. On a sunny summer’s day, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) found out what life is like in Winterton.
It was not without its issues, but a strong sense of community also came through.
During the morning spent with Mayor Marilynne Harrison and local councillors, the first stop was Winterton Town Council’s HQ in West Street. A uniform hub is based here, where donated school clothes are reused and given out for free.
It is organised by the town council and spearheaded by Cllr Pauline Howden. This was the second summer school holidays it has run, open on Fridays. About 15-20 families a week use it.
“It’s absolutely so busy it’s phenomenal,” Cllr Howden said. “It’s not just about people who are on benefits, it’s for everybody.” A victim of its own success, the hub will move, likely to Winterton community pavilion, as the council offices are not big enough anymore for the clothing.
“We’d like to expand it a little bit, but like everything else, it runs on volunteers,” Cllr Howden added. Mayor Harrison emphasised it was clothes that would otherwise have been thrown away.
“I think it’s important how much stuff’s not going to landfill.” Clothes deemed not good enough go to charity as rags.
The flipside of a uniform hub is to highlight the general cost of living strains faced by families. A North Lincolnshire Council-organised holiday activities and food (HAF) programme for free school meal kids at the community pavilion later also suggested economically challenging times for some, and the support available.
Another council-supported project was the £164,000 renovation of West Street Park, with shiny outdoor gym and play areas. It was completed in the last two years and included a zipwire.
A Winterton mum with her children said it was “absolutely brilliant to call in on the way home from school”. Vandalism of park equipment has been a frequent topic on town council agendas this year.
CCTV in the parks cannot be readily shared by the police and company with the town council. “We were having great success through schools of identifying individuals, but we can’t do that anymore because it’s not best practice,” said ward Cllr Helen Rowson, who added requests for specific incidents could be made by the town council.
Vandalism of parks was not raised as a significant issue by residents later though. The Mayor and ward councillors also highlighted an exciting new information board, on Winterton’s history and landmarks, soon going up in Market Place.
Roads resurfacing and High Street speeding
A 350 bus user, I always knew I’d reached Winterton, due to the sickness-inducing potholes. But no longer.
Roadworks took place earlier this summer, including most recently the resurfacing of West and North Streets, the B1340. “They’ve done a fantastic job with minimal disruption when you think it’s the main road,” said the appreciative Mayor. “We fought like mad for it, we did,” said ward Cllr Elaine Marper.
Customers at The Butchers’ Arms worried about High Street speeding. One woman said it was “a nightmare” and claimed she had seen a car speeding at 80 miles per hour. “They don’t stop.” She had taken up with the local authority about traffic calming measures like speed bumps, but not heard back.
“The way the cars drive up and down the street is bad,” agreed another woman. “It’s dangerous.”
In response, North Lincolnshire Council’s leader Cllr Rob Waltham said the road resurfacing works had “been welcomed as really making a difference in the town”.
“It’s disappointing to hear that speeding motorists are causing problems though – we’ll certainly work with residents to see if there is anything else which can be done to deter this.
“But, the responsibility is ultimately with the people behind the wheel – some people, despite all the efforts made, continue to think the rules do not apply to them, they are putting themselves and others at risk and they need to stop it now.”
Sense of community
Winterton’s strong sense of community shone through. Everyone really does seem to know everybody. Casual first name greetings in the town centre were commonplace.
Local shops are well supported. The Mayor and others praised the town’s only butchers, Gray’s Butchers & Bakers, which employs about 10 people. Its staff manager confirmed it has effectively two different clientele, high-end restaurants ordering in, and residents. It was getting its fair share of custom on a weekday mid-afternoon.
“It’s small enough that it’s a nice community,” said post office manager Zoe Fillingham, adding people looked after each other.
Several customers were unconvinced by a series of housing developments on three sides of Winterton. Calling themselves ‘the faceless wonders’ rather than be named, the trio worried about traffic and impact on amenities such as drainage. Likewise, the sense of community may weaken.
Perhaps it will. Then again, with events like its two day agricultural show, popular one day Christmas market, Winterton Lions and District Club traditional Santa sleigh, it will take major change for the town to lose its friendly charm.
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Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe