New shop scheme takes a leap forward thanks to a 150-tonne crane
PUBLISHED: 12:55 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:23 28 May 2020
A village shop has edged one step closer to becoming a reality during lockdown.
Work on the Walled Garden Community Shop and Café, in Little Plumstead, has progressed.
A 150-tonne crane lifted the shop building into place on an outdoor area dating back to the Victorian era which has been derelict for 10 years, on Wednesday.
It is the culmination of three years of work by a group of residents who have worked on plans to restore the walled garden on the former Little Plumstead hospital site.
The group has decided to use lockdown to get the shop part of the community cafe and garden up and running as the service is more vital than ever due to coronavirus.
It is hoped the shop, which is currently recruiting for a shop manager and part time assistant, will open by late summer.
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Adrian Nagle, chairman of the community group, said: “Despite the pandemic we’ve managed to continue with the project, albeit at a slower pace.
“Meetings have been via video conferencing and we’ve not been able to progress the garden as much as we’d like because of social distancing but we’ve now actually got the building in place and that makes it all feel very real.
“There’s still a lot of work to do but we hope that the shop could be open in late summer. It was always going to be a vital community amenity but the impact of coronavirus means it’s going to be even more important now.
“It’ll mean people don’t need to use public transport to get to the nearest shop or potentially put themselves at greater risk by shopping in a more crowded environment.
“It’s also going to enhance the community spirit, which has already shown itself to be great during these troubled times, but it gives everyone in the area something to look forward to.”
The project has been possible due to a combination of grants, fundraising, donations and a community share offer, which has raised more than £240,000 to date.
The most recent funding boost came from a crowdfund in association with Aviva, which raised £5,000 to fund solar panels to help make the project more environmentally friendly.
To apply for the jobs or volunteering visit www.thewalledgardenshop.co.uk.
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