During the 2018 annual art show in the former church, (which is sited on one side of the historic thirteenth-century square, listed as a Grade II conservation-area) a number of visitors from OUTSIDE Stoke Ferry offered comments which perhaps lend a much-needed sense of perspective and an insight into how our village is perceived by others. These are reproduced in full below.

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Would be lovely to see a village centre with bistro-café, community facilities, and no lorries, dust and smell. Would be great to see the Hall given a new lease of life and the other old houses brought back to domestic use.

It is high time that the village centre was restored to its former glory as a community hub for the village. It is much overdue and would be great to see.

It is time that Stoke Ferry is allowed to take back its heritage and long historic past from this unsightly and smelly factory. I would support a neighbourhood plan.

Stoke Ferry has so many wonderful old properties. Those possibly owned by the Mill could make beautiful homes, but who wants to buy around the monstrosity of the mill? Any hapless homeowner would be horrified to discover the often nauseating smells.

So many of Norfolk’s historic old villages have been well-restored. This one is dying. It should be rescued as a gift to future generations.

We moved to West Norfolk twenty years ago, and were put off, even then, by the presence of the factory and the dust it created. The beautiful old buildings around the factory are falling into dilapidation because of the irresponsible and probably negligent behaviour of the business owner who is clearly placing profit ahead of anything else. Enough. What exactly is the local MP DOING?

So many possibilities for a village with centuries of rich mercantile and architectural history. If London can imagine that an old power station can be made into one of the most visited galleries in the world – Tate Modern – what could be done with the Stoke Ferry conservation centre?bThere are many creative people of importance living in Norfolk that might get involved in an exciting and unique project. Witness what has just been achieved at Wells-next-the-Sea with a redundant industrial building.

A worthwhile campaign, and long overdue. Good luck for the future.

The factory is a blot on the landscape of Stoke Ferry. Good luck with all you are trying to do.

I sit and draw the old houses of Stoke Ferry year after year and have watched their dilapidation. It is a disgrace. Take back ownership of your village!

I totally agree with the above.

What was acceptable once is not acceptable today. Things change. The mill does not sit comfortably in our village today. We have to look to the future.

A whole beautiful village destroyed by one single operation.

More thought and effort by local industry would help to give weight to their argument!

I agree the mill is an eyesore and doesn’t employ many people locally. However, more development, more building, more traffic during development, more money-making initiatives. I think this village is rapidly losing its identity and the proposals would in my opinion rob even more village feeling. More money for developers.

But that surely is why we need to protect the village’s identity, with a neighbourhood plan which comes from the villagers themselves, and defends them from the developers?

The mill itself is ugly but we can learn to tolerate ugliness, as we are not all born with good looks. However, the operation of the mill is the real problem, with its serial pollution all day, almost every day, and the risks the continuing operation poses to residents and visitors

It is a shame that buildings are allowed to fall into ruin, especially as they are listed and unfortunately belong to a businessman who has no interest in the village. Hopefully something can be done before it is too late to save them.