Go ahead sought for Hawkchurch community shop

Villagers urged to confirm their support for the project at a public meeting

THE tills could soon be ringing again at Hawkchurch for the first time in more than 15 years.

Plans to set up a community shop are expected to get the go ahead at a public meeting on Sunday.

Residents are being urged to turn out in force and confirm their support for the project.

At the gathering, in the village hall, starting at 2.30pm, officials will outline their business plan and invite comments on the proposals.

Hawkchurch has been without a shop since 1986 and calls for its return topped the development wish list in the village plan questionnaire in 2010.

Since then a steering group has conducted another questionnaire, specifically on a shop proposal, which again revealed a very high level of support.

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Members of the group have also visited many community shops in the region to obtain further information. Between 35 and 40 people in the village have indicated their willingness to provide voluntary help in running a future shop.

David Fisher, from the Plunkett Foundation, a charity that helps community projects, has met with the steering group to provide advice and will be attending the village meeting to answer any questions.

Andrew Moulding, the village’s county councillor, will also be present to talk about the availability of grants.

It is planned to build the shop on a site next to the village hall and supporters say it will provide many benefits for residents.

Amongst other things, it will serve as an outlet for local produce and businesses, provide a wide range of postal services, a coffee bar, and a centre for social interaction and support for the village hall.