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Depending on your point of view, the derelict barn at the top of The Drift may be picturesque, an eyesore or an inevitable piece of landscape history. So far as I know it has not been subject to a planning application for housing. This thought occurred as I passed it, prompted by meeting Colin Hardy on Mill Hill a few days before.

Colin was repairing the sign placed there by the water company Viridor. Not aware of my incompetence with tools he asked me to drive the posts into the ground with a sledgehammer while he held them upright. Fortunately nothing untoward happened and Colin was able to finish his work. Incidentally he mentioned how the site came to be designated a nature reserve. This was as the result of a house-building application, as can be seen on the village website.

Without taking a NIMBY attitude we have to grateful that Coddenham does not have the infrastructure to support large-scale housing projects. We do have our shop offering high quality products of course, and Julia was pleased to be able to tell me she stocks four of the eight artisan cheeses praised in a recent Guardian article.

Places like Coddenham have pleasures to offer visitors from other kinds of environment, be they large villages, towns or other countries. It is important that we keep it as a living entity rather than a “heritage” fossil. As such it is a fitting memorial to men like Sidney Grimwood, who died at sea on 30 December 1917 and is named on a memorial in Egypt as well as in the churchyard here.

John Pelling, 01449 760676