Help us save our shop! Public meeting to decide future of 380-year-old Itteringham Community Shop
- Credit: Archant
Local residents are being asked to choose between one of three options - fighting to stay put, accepting the eviction notice to move out within six months, or closing immediately.
A public meeting is being organised to decide the fate of one of the oldest shops in Norfolk.
Itteringham Community Shop faces an uncertain future after the current tenants were served with an eviction notice - giving them until October 8 to move out.
The announcement has provoked an outcry from supporters of the shop which was established in 1637 and has since 1994 been been run by the Itteringham Community Association and a dedicated team of employees and volunteers.
Now a public meeting is planned in the Bure Valley Community Centre on Wednesday, April 19, at 7pm to decide the next course of action.
Local residents are being asked to choose between one of three options - whether to fight to stay put, accept the eviction notice to move out within six months, or close immediately with a view to reopening when or if new premises can be found.
Organisers have warned that a campaign to keep the shop open could cost upwards of £50,000 while closing immediately could leave the community without a shop for the next five years.
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A spokesperson for Itteringham Community Shop said: 'We are holding a public meeting to give everyone interested in the shop's future an opportunity to express their views on what they want to happen to the shop.
'Assuming we all want to keep the shop open, we will need money and help. We are starting fundraising immediately and need a volunteer to manage and co-ordinate this campaign.
'We apologise for the short notice but the clock is ticking and we need to move quickly.'
What are the options?
1 - Fight to stay put
Advantages: It is the original and best site for the village shop, post office and cafe.
Disadvantages: To go to court could cost £50,000 very quickly and there is no guarantee of success.
2 - Accept the eviction and make a temporary move to the village hall car park in a portacabin until new premises are ready
Advantages: Lower cost, no landlords.
Disadvantages: Time and effort to sort out, planning permissions needed, could lose Post Office, not on the national cycle route.
3 - Close now and possibly reopen when new permanent premises have been found and sufficient funds raised for a potential move to the National Trust barns or an extension to the village hall
Advantages: No fundraising needed immediately. Only option if other two options fail.
Disadvantages: Shop may not reopen for up to five years by which time shopping habits could have changed and customers could be lost forever.
Speaking earlier this month, Widge Savage, a long-time worker at the shop, said: 'Absolutely disgusting. Please don't let them destroy nearly 400 years of history. Itteringham needs a shop.'