The current wooden building, constructed by a team of villagers during the snows of early 2018, was conceived as a temporary structure on a temporary site - a temporary solution in the absence of the immediate availability of a suitable permanent site. Even this was only possible thanks to the support and cooperation of two important village institutions, the Village Hall Committee and the Field Centre, run by the Field Studies Council. These two organisations recognised the village’s need for the continued presence of a village shop and granted the shop management committee a temporary licence to allow the new shop to be established on a piece of land half owned by each of them.
Initially, it was accepted that in a couple of years a new site would have to be found, driven by the temporary nature of the original occupation agreement and the need to expand the storage and office capacity. The search for a new site has been thorough but has identified only one possibility. This is looking increasingly difficult despite the support of both local authorities. The roaring success of the shop in its present location, together with a unanimous confirmation from the village at the last public meeting that it would much prefer the shop to stay where it is has led to positive discussions with both of the site’s owners. Current indications are that a solution may be found which would allow the shop to remain where it is and at the same time be able to expand enough to meet its growing space requirements, at least for the time being.
If this could be achieved it would be a marvellous result for the shop and the village, possibly allowing a period of up to seven years – the maximum length of time charitable organisations are allowed to commit to – of stability. During that period longer term plans could be researched and developed to identify a full permanent site solution. It is the Management Committee’s aim to ensure that our wonderful Village Community Shop is housed finally in a new, permanent building, which at the very least will be large enough to include secure storage facilities, a WC, a small office and maybe even space for an undercover café table or two to provide a meeting spot for villagers.
Much needs to be done to find such a site for this new shop. To secure a site, we will need a scheme and professionals will need to be employed for this. It is too important and complex a task for the Management Committee to undertake alone. As well as applying for grants and awards to this end, we will be holding our own fundraising events. The first of these was the Slapton Art Auction, which was a resounding success, and we hope to repeat this success with a series of equally attractive events.
In any event, the ability to raise the funds for a large undertaking such as site works and buying our new permanent building will depend largely on the continued backing of the whole community, as well as the continued commercial success of the shop to that point.
Fundraising will be a huge task but the signs are good. Grants are available but first a decision must be made on what we want and where we want it. It is likely that a Share Option Scheme will be delivered which will be attractive to taxpayers, as investments in the Scheme should offer 30% – 50% tax relief.
Information on the progress we are making will be reported, when available, to all the Members of the Benefit Society, at meetings that will be held in the Village Hall. These will be advertised on posters around the Village, in the Slapton Lines community magazine, on this website and on our Facebook page.
When that final decision on the site for the new shop is made, a further general meeting will be called for all the Villagers of the Parish, to explain and clarify the whys and wherefores for this decision. We must emphasise the importance of continued good attendances at all these meetings to demonstrate continued solidarity of support for the project. We must take positive action if we want a shop to remain somewhere in the village in the future!