A bid to save Brent Knoll’s village shop and Post Office from closure by turning it into a community-run facility has taken a step forward.
Fourteen Brent Knoll parishioners have this month attended a meeting to hear about the possible loss of the village shop, and to discuss potential solutions, which include running it as a community-run business.
The meeting, held in the village hall, was arranged by villager John Mathews, who used social media to raise the threat of the Brent Knoll shop being lost. Burnham-On-Sea.com first reported here about the closure plans last year.
Such was the strong response that he invited those who had responded to attend the initial meeting.
John says: “Attendees, who included the clerk and three members of Brent Knoll Parish Council, heard a detailed explanation of the situation from the shop’s owner, Caroline Chennells, who said that she will have to close the shop if no other solution is found. Caroline also explained the current cessation of the Post Office.”
“Discussion then confirmed that retaining, if possible, both the shop and the Post Office were viewed as a major priority for the village.”
“It was agreed to open discussions with the Plunkett Foundation, a charitable body that advises and helps rural communities to create and run Community Shops.”
“This has now begun, and will see the first of their recommendations enacted – a community consultation project, using a detailed questionnaire and a more formal, well publicised, public meeting to measure public support for a community shop.”
Caroline underlined her willingness to help, including offers to consult with the Post Office and to reduce any major up-front cost commitment by offering an initial rental lease for a trial year.
“This meeting was just a ‘toe-in-the-water’, but it has demonstrated that we should pursue the possibility of re-opening our Post Office and keeping our shop by engaging the community”, added John.
The next step will be to ask villagers to take part in a survey questionnaire about their views on the future of the Post Office and shop, including other activities or services that they would like to see.