Frinton is braced for loosening of moral standards

A SMALL boy was flying his kite on the greensward as his grandfather leant on his stick and looked on admiringly. The beach huts were shut for winter and the evenly spaced wooden seats looking on to the North Sea were empty.

A typical scene at Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, albeit out of season.

The picture is completed when one goes inside the Maplin Hotel on the esplanade and asks for a drink. Frintonians would not be so foolish.

Nick Turner, owner of the Maplin, bristled at the request. "No," was the short answer, followed by the fuller explanation: "Here, a full licence is a pub - a public house - which means the public can come into it."

He did not have one - and nor would he want to. A pub in Frinton would change Frinton forever, he said.

A level crossing provides a symbolic barrier between Frinton proper and the modern part of the town. "Inside the gates," as locals like to say, is the "holy part of Frinton", where all vulgar aspects of modern life have been resolutely resisted. Indeed, if Winston Churchill was to return today, he would be hard pressed to find any changes in the seaside resort where he holidayed during the world wars.

However, after Tendring Council's decision to allow JP Wetherspoon to build a pub on the town's main street, anything could happen. Or so Frintonians think.

Roy Caddick, 63, the secretary of the Frinton Residents' Association, described the day that the Wetherspoon proposal was accepted as the worst in Frinton since "the Luftwaffe beat up the town in 1945".

Subsequent word from nearby Braintree has reinforced his opinion. "A Wetherspoon pub has opened in Braintree and residents absolutely dread Friday and Saturday nights now. The youngsters descend on the town, tank up on cheap beer and cause mayhem," he said. "They slam car doors, they roar up the street, and there's vomit on the pavement the next morning. People don't have a drink in Frinton, but at least we don't get riots and all the other awful things that you read about elsewhere."

Win Shelton, 78, a long-standing member of Frinton `s town council, is equally apprehensive about the "late hours activity". She said: "You know, we haven't got all the razzmatazz that other places have. It's a haven. We don't have the candy floss or amusements."

JP Wetherspoon is anxious to allay the town's fears. The pub will be "straightforward and gimmick-free" with no music whatsoever, live or background. There will be wheelchair access and "nothing going on inside", said a spokesman.

But no amount of pandering is going to change the minds of the elderly residents, who are planning to take their "case of injustice" to the local government ombudsman.

John Lowe, landlord of the Essex Skipper, situated "outside the gates", and a self-elected founder member of the Fossils (Frinton-on-Sea Invisible Landlord Society), does not feel threatened by the arrival of a Wetherspoon pub.

"If they've got a better cook than my missus I'll jack it in - because I know they don't," he said. "I don't like the concept that you buy cheap, sell cheap and sod everyone else."

His pub has a dart board, jukebox and fruit machines and welcomes families (unlike Wetherspoon pubs).

The fact that the new pub will have "nothing going on inside" was no cause for cheer, he added. "It's just cheap beer and nothing else; it's not a community service."

However some residents - even some elderly ones - believe that the Frinton known to George Bernard Shaw and Edward, The Prince of Wales, and Mrs Simpson should wake up to the 20th century before the 21st arrives. The town described by Ursula Bloom, who also wrote under the name Lozania Prole, in her book Rosemary for Frinton, is laughably out of date. "I think we should have the pub," said George Francis. "It would revitalise the town, which would be a damn good idea."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Sport
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
rugby
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
health
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager / CAD Engineer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is the UK subsidia...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Lead

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

MBDA UK Ltd: Principal Engineer - Embedded Team Leader

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral