‘It was like a comedy sketch’ – Villagers’ VE Day street party ‘spoilt’ by construction work

Lorries and trucks disrupted a VE Day street party in Arrington. Picture: Susie Fowler

Lorries and trucks disrupted a VE Day street party in Arrington. Picture: Susie Fowler - Credit: Archant

Villagers in Arrington have said their socially distanced VE Day party was ruined by building work going on despite the bank holiday.

Households in Church End organised the party to raise spirits and enjoy the good weather during the coronavirus lockdown – thinking construction work on land off the road would halt for the day.

Resident Susie Fowler told the Crow: “This part of Arrington is a small lane leading to a cul-de-sac so it’s ideally situated for a street party.

“The day before we had a quick conversation with construction site workers informing them of what we were doing. We had thought they were joking with us when we were told that they had concrete mixer lorries arriving Friday.

“A fantastic joint effort from two of the residents saw the cul-de-sac decked with bunting.

“There was food on the go and residents began to appear from the gardens to sit outside and picnic, have a conversation and enjoy the sunshine.

“For some of the residents it should have been a rare chance to have a conversation, see others outside of their normal household group even if it was at a distance and relax in the sunshine listening to period music, a real treat especially for our older residents.

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“The reality of the day was far from this. Multiple construction workers’ vans and trucks started arriving at 7.45am.

“All the time there were raised voices, the site digger and dump truck moving around, noise from the lorries discharging their load was so loud it was hard to hear anyone two metres from you and the vibration could be felt through the ground. The period music was drowned out so the ambience was spoilt. It was like a comedy sketch with tables and chairs having to be moved out of the way to allow lorries that filled the lane to enter and leave sometimes it was impossible to sit down before another lorry arrived. It was a day totally spoilt but we made the best of it we possibly could.”

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for planning, Councillor Dr Tumi Hawkins, said: “Work using construction machinery should not have been taking place at this site on VE Day – neither should it take place on any Sunday or other bank holiday. The planning conditions clearly state that. I’d like to thank the resident for reporting this breach of planning control via our website. We take breaches of conditions very seriously and will of course investigate and discuss this with the developer.”