The village of Stonking is renowned for its picturesque High Street, its Twelfth century church, its beautiful village pond and its regular success in the Best Kept Village contest. In the summer its streets become dotted with tourists eager to soak up a little of its rural peace and charm. And in the winter it becomes the domain of intrepid walkers traipsing along the South Downs Way and detouring to the village in search of sustenance.
But now it finds itself developing a reputation as Sussex’s snobbiest village after its residents have been driven insane with rage by its latest attraction – a burger van. So incensed have some of them become that they have been circulating a petition to have the mobile snack provider moved on.
Chief amongst the complainers is Parish Councillor Frank Disclosure :“I’ve nothing against the owners of SnackAttack wanting to make a living and I’ve nothing (much) against the concept of burger vans – other than the smell, the litter, the unsightliness, the attraction of unruly youths, the health implications of junk food provision, the unsanitary cooking conditions and the exhaust fumes. Now if they could do something to sort those issues out, then I’d be perfectly happy for them to stay.”
But the main accusation of snobbishness is directed at local resident Wesley Thorndike, who in a letter to this newspaper has claimed that “photographic evidence suggests that 90% of its customers are locals who live in local authority housing, We don’t want the accompanying smells and litter in the heart of the village – nor those of the burger van!”
These comments have outraged Reg and Lucinda Prole, who have been trading from their van in different locations since 1996. “We’ve never experienced anything like this anywhere else. We set up in the car park adjacent to the village hall but had to stop after four days because some people deliberately parked their cars on the square to take up all the places. It’s just bare-arsed snobbery.”
We asked various villagers for their comments :
Butcher Basil Chives : “Whatever next? Caravans? Gypsies? Car boot sales? Groups of blokes in high visibility jackets congregating to chat whilst waiting for their grease-soaked orders? They don‘t even buy their meat from my shop! Did you know that the hamburger was invented in 1900 by Louis Lassen, who broiled some ground beef and served it between two pieces of toast.”
Window cleaner Paul Ramone : “I totally abhor snobbery of any kind and think it’s very unfair that the Proles are being treated in this way. Even if they do look like the sort of people who don’t wash their hands after they’ve been to the toilet.”
* * *