The Countryside Alliance has long recognised the vital role village shops play in their communities and is keen to support them. Some are boosted through the CA Awards, aka the Rural Oscars, which have a Village Shop/ Post Office category. Others are under threat and need our support. With this in mind, please read the below plea from a concerned resident of Newnham in Northants and sign the petition here:

I was born and bred in Newnham; I was educated at the school, my father has lived here for 45 years and my elder brother and his young family live at the bottom of the village. The shop and pub are one of the main reasons why Newnham is so attractive as a village. Whilst the pub has recently been re-energised to play a central role in the community, the shop remains closed and is now subject to today’s application.

From the shop I delivered papers as a child, as did my brothers; I know how much of a central part of the community it would be, if it were allowed to continue.

The older people get the less mobile they become, and having spoken to the elderly within the village we know they are concerned about this. Also, winter access in and out of the village is limited, making the shop a much-needed facility for people living there.

We strongly feel that a well-stocked village shop (which I would happily put my own money into to make happen) would not only serve Newnham, but also Everdon, Badby, Preston Capes and everywhere in between.

After speaking with a large number of people in the village, most did not even know planning had been requested for the change. They are all shocked and devastated at the prospect of losing the shop and are also worried about what else is happening in the village that they are unaware of. You can visit the SOS page for the shop on Facebook here.

The residents’ concerns are as follows:

  • Once the shop is gone, there will be no chance of ever having one again and this would be a great loss.
  • If this property is converted, we see it being sold straight away, giving no benefit to the village, only to the person who owns it – and he doesn’t even live here. If such planning applications are allowed, they only serve to seal the fate of the village as a middle-class dormitory, rather than a local community.
  • Should our only shop become a house there is no parking meaning more parked cars on the road, which would cause a problem during school times. There is no access to and from the property; the space between the shop and the next house is shared access for pedestrian access only.
  • The shop provides a place for the elderly to go, speak to someone when buying a paper or their week’s food, or simply a familiar safe place to go to get out of the house.
  • A shop provides employment opportunities for local people to work in the shop, ideal for those who have retired, have families or even youngsters taking on their first job.

Our plan of action is as follows:

  • Run the shop as a non-profit venture for the community and stock a range of produce, including Northamptonshire produce, offer fresh bread 3 times a week, fresh milk, fresh cakes, tea/coffee, local delivery of produce; a paper round, traditional sweet shop, local meat and veg, etc.
  • This will support local farmers, promote local businesses and tradesmen and make the shop central to the rural community, both physically and online, supporting local employment.
  • We will also support local events planned by Friends Of Newnham School, The Romer Arms pub, Jazz on the Green and surrounding villages.