East Boldre Community Stores
Alternative Sites We've Considered for the Community Shop
Since 2018 we have considered a variety of sites for the shop. The table below summarises our findings.
A Brief History
It all started in 2016 when the village shop was put on the market. It has been a long road and we have explored varied solutions for the premises for our community business.
Our plans have had to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, new information and constraints.
Now, in the December 2022, we have a clear, feasible way forward to achieving our goal of a community run shop in community owned premises.
All of the hard work, thought and effort invested so far stands us in good stead to achieve our aim!
Village shop put on the market. Save Our Shop (SOS) team formed
Modern hub plans drawn up with large extension to provide space for a shop
Crowdfunding by village hall trustees raises ~£8000 for developing hub proposal.
Woodgreen community shop identified as a benchmark
Forestry England don't have legal powers to grant a licence for a shop on this Crown, common land site - they seek legal advice to identify a process to achieve this.
Public meetings and Survey
National Park planning don't think initial design is suitable for the open forest site - work starts on a simpler 2 storey extension design.
Legal process identified to enable a licence for a shop - common grazing rights would need to be transferred from the hall site to ungrazed land adjacent to the open forest.
Forestry England agree to search their portfolio for suitable land.
National Park planners reject 2nd design - too bulky and does not reflect the national park, rural vernacular.
Work starts on a 3rd hub design - single storey with basement some layout compromises
Forestry England have no suitable land - hub team land search starts
Public meetings and initial survey.
Shop business plan - viability with paid staff relies on retaining existing shop's Post Office contract. This requires continuity of service.
Bright Ideas grant of £9670 awarded for community shop project feasibility costs.
Hub planning application submitted.
Hub costings £1.1m - basement expensive.
Project plan - hub not ready until 2023 (planning decision, fundraising, build).
Hub teams land search for shop licence yields no plots. Back up grazing is already scarce - local commoners concerned we'd further reduce this.
Ian puts shop on the market - need interim site for our shop to meet terms of transferring existing PO contract
Investigate an alternative/interim site for the shop near village centre (pub beer garden, fruit farm, Baptist chapel, 'Legion' hall)
East Boldre Community Stores constituted as a community benefit society
Approaches to owners of potential interim sites yield no results
Cost / funding / timescale of hub, no land found for shop licence at hub, PO contract continuity - forces rethink, initial approach made to Ian.
Existing shop sold subject to contract in April to a residential buyer. With no temporary site available for shop until hub is ready, we stepped in. Working closely with the owner, we came up with a mutually beneficial solution - shop stays where it and we lease the ground floor giving us room to expand the product and service offering.
Summer 2021- January 2022
Circumstances change, it is no longer possible to lease the ground floor only. We switch our focus to acquiring the whole shop property. Our planning application to extend the retail space is granted and we are awarded £250,000 from the Community Ownership Fund. Ian accepts our offer and it's full steam ahead to raise £200,000 from our Share Offer. Other grant applications continue to be made.
January 2022 - Summer 2022
We had successfully raised a considerable part of our funding target by January 2022 for our proposed purchase of the existing shop. Unfortunately, we had to repay all our funders when that plan could no longer go ahead. With no available centrally located alternatives for community owned shop premises we put our society into a dormant state.