Village shop may never reopen
A VILLAGE shop and post office which has been closed for the past two months may never reopen, the owner of the property has admitted.The shop, at Redgrave, near Eye, is believed to have been operated continuously from the same property since 1684.
A VILLAGE shop and post office which has been closed for the past two months may never reopen, the owner of the property has admitted.
The shop, at Redgrave, near Eye, is believed to have been operated continuously from the same property since 1684.
But three tenants have left the business over the past five years and, according to owner, David Broad, no suitable replacement can be found.
"People have contacted me expressing concern and I know it is a lifeline for many of them.
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"I have advertised in The Grocer magazine and have let it be known locally that I am seeking someone to take over.
"I have had a number of enquiries but, with the exception of one person I am yet to interview, everyone else has concluded it is not a viable proposition," Mr Broad said.
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If a new tenant could not be found soon he would have to rent out the three-bedroomed flat above the shop because it would deteriorate if it stayed empty during the winter months.
However, he admitted that separate occupancy of the flat would make it even harder to find a tenant to run the shop and post office.
"The prognosis for the shop reopening is not good. It has a history of problems over the past few years and I have lost a lot of money. It can't go on like that," he said.
In the two months since the shop closed some local people had changed their post office and newspaper accounts and, with supermarkets in Diss and Rickinghall opening for longer hours, the viability of the shop would be in doubt, Mr Broad added.
Joyce Orves , parish council chairman, said many people in the village - population 500 - feared that the business would not reopen.
"Apart from the convenience of having a local shop, it was a meeting place for people and the village has seemed very quiet since it closed," she said.
Mrs Orves said the closure of the business was causing hardship for people with no cars.
They were having to "beg" lifts in order to get to neighbouring Botesdale in order to shop and, in a few cases, to obtain their pensions and other social security benefits.
Some able-bodied people were walking or cycling the three-mile round trip along roads used by heavy lorries, but that was often not an option for the elderly and infirm, Mrs Orves said.