‘Beyond our wildest dreams’ - ecstatic scenes as hundreds celebrate saving the Itteringham Village Community Shop

North Norfolk District Council members, and Itteringham Community Association members (ICA), gather

North Norfolk District Council members, and Itteringham Community Association members (ICA), gather to celebrate the NNDC buying Itteringham Shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

It was a day of celebration after an outcome that many people thought was impossible.

The Itteringham Village Community shop, near Aylsham, was due to close yesterday after the landlords of the property served a legal notice, giving six months to vacate the premises.

But last month, after a successful campaign, the village shop and adjacent Fair Meadow House were bought by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and the shop was saved for the future.

The Itteringham Community Association volunteer group will run Fair Meadow House as a holiday letting and the annual earnings will go back to NNDC as a return on its investment.

The shop's fate was celebrated by nearly 200 people on the grounds on Saturday.

Dr Anne Palmer, whose husband Dr Terry Palmer is on the association committee, summed up the mood when she said: 'It's beyond our wildest dreams.

'We did not think this day would ever come.'

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The event was attended by NNDC council members along with many of the volunteers, supporters and customers who had backed the community shop since 1994 when it was taken over by the association.

Committee member Mike Hemsley said: 'It's such fantastic good news for the villagers, customers and independent local suppliers who have depended on this village resource.'

A specially created celebratory cake was cut on the day, and district councillor Annie Claussen-Reynolds, who took the idea to Cabinet, said: 'When I came across it, I was taken aback by the community spirit and so keen to take the fight forward.

'It's really a lifeline for the village, so I'm ecstatic it has turned out like this.'

Itteringham ward member Georgie Perry-Warnes also campaigned to save the shop.

Steven Burbidge, vice-chairman of the association, said the fight to save the shop, which dates back 380 years, 'was always going to be a big ask, a big hill to climb'.

He added: 'We always knew we had strong support in the area, and we mobilised that support on social media, stayed positive and after seven/eight months of hard work, it's tremendous to be facing a bright future.'

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