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Relocation plans for Pilley community shop to Boldre War Memorial Hall agreed

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THE future of a community shop has been secured after the national park authority approved plans for it to relocate to an extension to Boldre War Memorial Hall.

The scheme will see Pilley's community shop and post office move around half a mile. The changes were approved after national park planners heard the "essential village asset" would not have its the lease extended beyond 2022 at its current location in Pilley Street.

As well as the single-storey rear and side extension to the hall, the plans show a playground will also be moved and seven extra parking spaces created.

Shop manager Caroline Danke and management committee chair Bernard Atkinson (46616010)
Shop manager Caroline Danke and management committee chair Bernard Atkinson (46616010)

Run by manager Caroline Darke and a team of volunteers for the last five years Pilley Village Stores has operated on the same site for 100 years.

The proposal, which was submitted by the trustees of Boldre War Memorial Hall, was hailed as mutually beneficial, contributing to the continuing future success of the hall, shop and post office.

Bernard Atkinson, chair of the shop management committee, welcome the approval, saying: “This is good news for the whole community. It might be the case that some of our customers have to come a little further, but this is a good solution to keep this valuable shop at the heart of our community."

The new building will be paid for from memorial hall funds and then leased to the community shop management committee.

The aim is to complete the building project before October 2022 so the move can take place before the existing shop lease expires.

Three objections lodged with the NPA argued there were more suitable locations for the new premises, and the bigger footprint of the shop suggested it could attract customers from outside the village.

However, NPA planning officer Carly Cochrane said a condition could be included to ensure the extension would be used only as a convenience shop and post office and not be expanded to more general retail.

It also emerged playground facilities will be temporarily lost during building work because it would unsafe for facility to open during construction work.

In her report Ms Cochrane said NPA planning policies backed the creation of small-scale convenience shops which were not on the open countryside and supported a local need.

She continued: “The scale of the replacement facility is significantly larger than that which is currently provided. This has been noted within the representations received.”

But she said the proposed building was "notably smaller" than Woodgreen Community Shop which had previously been allowed by the NPA.

Ms Cochrane concluded: “Overall, there is a need for a replacement facility within the village, and this application provides the opportunity to secure such a facility, whilst providing some site enhancements such as the new children’s play area and highway safety measures.”

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