The residents of Chittlehamholt in north Devon are making the final preparations for the opening of their new community-owned shop at the end of June.
Chittlehamholt (population 400) and the nearby villages of Warkleigh and Satterleigh have not had a local shop since Chittlehamholt Post Office closed in 2009. The nearest shops were over 6 miles away down narrow roads that can impassable in winter. There is no bus service.
A group of villagers soon decided that a community-owned shop was needed and set up Chittlehamholt Village Shop Association in 2009. But despite expert advice from the Plunkett Foundation and the approval of a loan from The Co-operative Loan Fund the venture suffered a series of delays.
Ron Thorne, Chair of the Association, said: “It’s been a long struggle but we’ve finally got there. For the last four years the village has been without a centre.”
The new shop is located beside the car park for the village hall and near the pub. It’s in a new timber framed building with a number of eco-friendly features.
The shop will be run by a team of over 20 volunteers