Village pub opens shop to fill lockdown gap
- Credit: ANTONY KELLY
A project to establish a permanent community shop in the north Norfolk village of Bodham has taken a step forward.
The village had been without a shop since the closure of its previous business six years ago, but a temporary store has now opened in the local pub, The Red Hart Inn.
This shop was only intended to run throughout the latest lockdown until the venue can reopen as a pub, but Callum Ringer, from the Bodham and Beckham Community Shop project, said the popularity of the venture showed the demand for a permanent shop in the village.
Mr Ringer said: "The Red Hart are doing a fantastic job and have really gone above and beyond, particularly during the snowy weather, delivering to people.
"It's good for the community and it has demonstrated the need for a permanent shop as well. Since the shop opened you also see people walking around again. You're seeing faces and that's worth an awful lot to people at this time."
Lee Merritt, landlord of the Red Hart said: “We have obviously had to close the pub because of the restrictions, but we have known since it closed in 2014 that the village really needs a shop - especially in a lockdown – so decided to start one up.
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"Feedback so far has been really positive - people are grateful that they no longer need to travel to busy supermarkets and can just pop down the road.”
Mr Ringer, who is also vice-chairman of Bodham Parish Council, said the project's team was in discussions over a possible site for the permanent shop, but the plans would take a few years to come to fruition.
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He said this meant there would be a gap between when the pub's shop closed and the permanent shop could open, but it was not yet clear how long that would be.
Mr Ringer said: "It looks likely we'll go through a period of time without a shop again."
The pub's shop sells basic groceries also takeaway food such as pizza, fish and chips and roasts. It is open 8am to midday and 4pm to 7pm Wednesday to Saturday and 8am to 2pm on Sundays.