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'We won't be swallowed up': Anger at bid to make Norfolk hamlet disappear

PUBLISHED: 14:47 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:30 27 September 2019

Beckhithe village is set to lose its name and merge with a neighbouring village. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Beckhithe village is set to lose its name and merge with a neighbouring village. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

It is a tiny hamlet of which most people will not have heard.

The letter sent to Beckhithe residents by Royal Mail, proposing the parish name be dropped from the official address. Photo: ArchantThe letter sent to Beckhithe residents by Royal Mail, proposing the parish name be dropped from the official address. Photo: Archant

But for the residents of Beckhithe, lack of fame does not mean an absence of pride.

For, faced with a threat to remove its name and merge it with neighbouring Little Melton, they are fighting back - and believe centuries of history is on their side.

The row blew up last month, when Royal Mail contacted households to propose Beckhithe's name be removed from the postcode address file.

The move has been labelled "very irritating" by residents, who are proud of their hamlet, which is around six miles east of Norwich between Hethersett and Little Melton.

Beckhithe village is set to lose its name and merge with a neighbouring village. Picture: Jamie Honeywood Beckhithe village is set to lose its name and merge with a neighbouring village. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

It is home to 17 homes, as well as businesses including Crusaders Rugby Club and industrial supplier Keyline.

Those living in the rural neighbourhood said they maintained fierce pride in its centuries-old status as an independent hamlet, with the prefix 'Beck' referring to a series of streams running through the area, and 'hithe' suggesting the hamlet was used as a landing point.

In the letter, Royal Mail laid out plans to remove Beckhithe from the official postal address, instead listing houses under neighbouring Little Melton.

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It states that mail delivery would not be affected by the change and that it may "ease possible confusion for visitors and companies making deliveries".

But according to Shamsher Diu, who lives on Walnut Tree Farm on Little Melton Road, those living in the parish are "vehemently against" the proposal.

He said: "We are in the dark about the reason behind this proposal and it has irritated us. We don't want to be swallowed up by a big village, and to have some bland name. People are too eager to throw away the past."

Neighbour Susan Gray, who has lived in Beckhithe since 1974, echoed his frustration.

She added: "Beckhithe is on the deeds to my property. I would have to change so many records if the proposal goes ahead."

A letter rejecting the plan has been signed by 13 people, which author Mr Diu said represented a strong majority of the community.

South Norfolk Council said the proposal had been triggered by an email it sent to Royal Mail in August, letting the company know that official council records did not contain reference to Beckhithe.

Royal Mail is set to make a decision on the proposed change by the end of the month.

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