People power could reopen village shop

A village could get its shop back more than two years after it closed. A questionnaire has been sent to residents at Redgrave, near Diss, asking them whether they would support the setting up of a community shop.

A village could get its shop back more than two years after it closed. A questionnaire has been sent to residents at Redgrave, near Diss, asking them whether they would support the setting up of a community shop.

Ruth and Paul Watkinson bought the former shop premises in August last year.

Since then the couple have been busy renovating an attached cottage. However, they are now seeking village support in creating a community shop in a lean-to part of the main building.

Talks have been held with the parish council and a working group set up. The idea is that the business will be run by the village for the village.

Advice is being sought from residents at Metfield, near Harleston, where a community shop has now been successfully running for a year.

Mrs Watkinson, who works as a surgical specialist for a healthcare company, said the proposed shop space was small, about seven metres by four metres, but could be adequate for a community convenience store venture.

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“We want the community to run it and the working group has just sent out a questionnaire asking local residents if they will support the shop - as volunteers and customers.

“Lots of people have given verbal support when we have talked to them about the idea. We would charge the village a minimum rent,” she said.

Advice has been given by Suffolk County Council and a meeting is planned with Bridget Morley, co-manager of the community shop at Metfield.

Parish council chairman Joyce Orves said a public meeting about the community shop idea had attracted more than 70 local residents.

“There were some doubts expressed about whether the space would be big enough but a shop is what people in this village want.

“No end of people here do things on a voluntary basis and it is hoped that we can get a rota going to look after the shop,” she said.

Results of the questionnaire will be collated once all have been collected.

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