Your views on establishing a Community Shop in Preston Candover

As you may be aware, Rob and Jane Marks have announced their intention to close Canterton Stores, the village shop in Preston Candover, after four years of valiant efforts to turn it into a viable business. These years have cost them dearly in terms of the financial support they have been required to give from their own personal resources and they have decided that they can no longer afford to continue to suffer the losses. While this may be a disappointment to some, I am sure we all appreciate the efforts that Rob and Jane have made in trying to keep the store open.

From his experience of the last four years, Rob is of the view that the current store premises are too small to carry the full range of products people want, and in the wrong place in the village to attract passing trade. This is a view shared by others, who feel that if larger premises were available in a more suitable location, and which could be operated as a ‘community shop’ with lower overheads and other costs, it may be possible to continue to provide a post office and convenience shopping.

The Parish Council will support and encourage proposals to establish a community store in the village if there is a clear indication that local residents want such a store and, more importantly, will use its services and buy from it on a regular basis. This is the purpose of this questionnaire which we hope every resident of Preston Candover, Axford, Brown and Chilton Candovers, and other nearby communities will complete, so that we can ascertain the level of support for such a venture.

This questionnaire is the first part of a larger survey which the Parish Council will be distributing shortly to residents of Preston Candover, Axford and Nutley. But,we would like to hear also from residents of neighbouring communities on the question of a community shop.

For many villages a shop and post office is a vital lifeline and for some people, especially those without transport of their own, it is an important connection with the world beyond their front door. It is a meeting place, a communication centre, and an important lynchpin of village life. The appeal of many villages rest on their sense of community; the presence of a shop often greatly enhances that community spirit and the lack of one can diminish it. We hope to maintain a shop and post office in Preston Candover and this questionnaire is the first step. We need to know your views on what might be provided and what would receive your support. Please be as honest and realistic as possible in your answers! Your response will be treated in confidence. It is entirely anonymous, unless you wish to add your name at the end, and we will not publish individual comments.