Villagers celebrate store victory

RESIDENTS of a Suffolk village are celebrating after the owners of its only store shelved plans to divide it into three.

Tom Potter

RESIDENTS of a Suffolk village are celebrating after the owners of its only store shelved plans to divide it into three.

A group of residents in Laxfield formed a campaign group five months ago to fight the owners' plans to turn their Co-Op store into three separate shops, claiming the conversion would increase costs and diminish the range of goods available to shoppers.

Now the SLOSH campaign group (Save Laxfield's Only Shop) has welcomed a “courageous decision” by owners Bill and Fiona Shuttle to shelve plans in the wake of objection.


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Chris Ward, SLOSH chairman, said: “This is a very welcome piece of news for Laxfield as a whole.

“As a village we must now unite to use our shop and put the last few months behind us.

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“SLOSH warmly welcomes this change of direction and on behalf of the vast majority of the village extends its thanks to Mr and Mrs Shuttle for this courageous decision.”

The Shuttles announced that, following the withdrawal of their application, they will now begin negotiations with the Co-op to renew its lease at the shop in Laxfield High Street.

Upon conclusion of negotiations, the Co-op plans to carry out its own refurbishment at the store.

In a statement addressed to the Laxfield community, Mrs Shuttle confirmed she and Mr Shuttle would be offering the renewal of a lease to the Co-op. “A lot has happened since we made our planning application,” she said.

“Following a review of our position we have decided that, subject to successful completion of negotiations, we will renew the lease with the Co-op and put our plans in abeyance.

“Come what may our main concern is that Laxfield remains a thriving village.”

In response to Mrs Shuttle's comments, Mr Ward, on behalf of the SLOSH committee, said: “I would now ask all village residents to give their support to Bill and Fiona, and to shop manager Janet Coleman and her team, through the upheaval of the refurbishment yet to come.”

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