Community Shop

There is a meeting regarding proposals for a Community Shop tonight (August 13,) at the Village Hall, 7pm-8pm.

Here are the minutes of the previous meeting.


Minutes of a meeting of the Shotley Parish Council- Shotley Gate Community Shop Committee on Monday 20th July 2015 at 7:15 pm in the large committee room at the Shotley Village Hall.


Present: Cllr B Nichols (Chairman), Cllr J Catling (Vice-chairman), Cllr M Williams, Cllr N Green, Cllr S Pallant, Mrs W Leeks, Mrs J Lawford-Randal, Ms P Hillier and Mrs D Bedwell (Clerk).


Absent: Cllr T Ingram (apologies approved).


Also in attendance: Twenty members of the public.


  1. 1.         Suspension of Standing Orders- Open forum for members of the public to speak on items appearing on the agenda: The Clerk gave an introduction to all those present about what the objectives for the meeting were at this point. The meeting would start with an open forum in order for members of the public to be able to have an open discussion with members of the committee about the current position and for any questions to be answered. Once that open forum had ended, the meeting would be closed to the public and Standing Orders would be resumed. This meant that although members of the public were allowed to, and in fact encouraged, to remain in the room, they would not be permitted to participate as freely as they had during the previously held public meetings. As this was a formal meeting of a Committee of the Parish Council, the relevant legislation would apply, which meant that only Committee members would participate in the discussions. However, if a member of the public felt strongly about a particular point and wished to contribute their views, they may raise their hand and speak through the Chairman once Standing Orders were suspended, at the Chairman’s and Committee’s discretion.


Cllr B Nichols proceeded by welcoming all those present and expressing that he wished the meeting would prove to be a productive event.


It was explained to members of the public that although two public meetings had taken place in order to gauge public views following the loss of the Shotley Gate Post Office and Stores, no concrete action could take place until a proper Committee of the Parish Council was formed. A resolution had been passed by the Parish Council to form such a Committee and this would be the first official meeting of that Committee. It was hoped that members of the public would also come forward and join the existing Councillor members.


Points raise by the public were as follows:


  • Would a Post Office still form part of the overall service provision.


  • It appeared that some residents previously affected by the Post Office and Stores closure were now getting used to not having it anymore and would continue to do so, particularly if a new shop was not made available soon.


  • The milkman delivery service could include a considerable number of items that had been highlighted at the public meetings, ie bread and other groceries, and that they may be able to increase variety of goods if the Parish Council was to request it.  Cllr B Nichols replied that the intention was to provide a more comprehensive Community Hub, rather than just a retail delivery system.


  • It was pointed out that part of the initial consultation had been the provision of a café and that this was now being provided by the Bristol Hill Public House (adjoining facility). Would this now be relevant.


  • There was an insistence that a Post Office facility continued to be needed in the area and that it may also help reduce the car parking pressures at the Shotley Street Post Office.


  • In addition, if the Committee got the new venture just right, it could become a place that residents were encouraged to return to and levels of enthusiasm could be raised.


  1. 2.         To receive and note statement from the Parish Council: Standing Orders were resumed. A statement was presented to the meeting by the Clerk, including:  An address had been identified during the public meetings as a possible site for the Community Shop. However, due to a potential dispute between landlord and existing tenant, the Parish Council was unable to pursue this option until such matter was resolved and a resolution was achieved. As it stood, no alternative site had yet been identified and this continued to be a matter for consideration by the Committee.


  1. 3.         To appoint Chairman of the Committee: It was resolved to appoint Cllr B Nichols Chairman of the Committee.


  1. 4.         To appoint Vice-Chairman of the Committee: It was resolved to appoint Cllr J Catling Vice-Chairman of the Committee.


  1. 5.         To appoint other members of the Committee (including to receive brief from the Clerk with regards to Declaration of Interests): The Clerk gave all those present a brief explanation about the Suffolk Code of Conduct and the Declaration of Interests process and implications.

It was resolved to appoint Cllr N Green, Mrs W Leeks, Mrs J Lawford-Randal and Ms Peta Hillier members of the Committee.


  1. 6.         To receive and consider apologies for absence: Apologies had been received from Cllr T Ingram and these were duly approved.


  1. 7.         To receive and consider declarations of interest and requests for dispensation: None received.


  1. 8.         To receive updates/reports and to agree any actions needed in response to information received: TOR’S: The Clerk circulated the Committee’s terms of Reference for consideration by the new Committee members. Subject to an amendment in the “Membership and Appointments” section- change from four to three non-councillor members- it was resolved to approve the Terms of Reference in their entirety.


Shotley Gate Community Shop Report, May 2015: an allowance was given to new Committee members and the public to read the report, which was duly noted.


Plunkett Foundation: Cllr B Nichols added that the Plunkett Foundation had been approached by the Parish Council and that it appeared they may be able to help the initiative, as long as their strict criteria was met. One of the criteria was that a new or replacement shop should not be detrimental to any existing neighbouring business, ie affect their turnover to a level that could jeopardise their existence. In order to facilitate this aspect of the dialogue with the Plunkett Foundation, the Committee would need to speak with Mr Manish Patel (owner of the Shhotley post Office and Stores, The Street- in order to ensure that he was fully on board of the initiative.


The next step would be to agree who would lead discussions with the Plunkett Foundation. This may be achievable by the exchange of letters- Clerk to check.


Prince’s Countryside Fund: Another alternative that had been identified was the Prince’s Countryside Fund, an organisation that actively assisted in the provision of retail facilities- Cllr S Pallant to make further enquiries.


Possible sites: It was agreed that the identification of suitable sites should be the next step. Options included part of a private dwelling, a mobile unit (for which a section of land would be needed or permission from the land owner/rental space) and the purchase of a suitably located property.


Standing Orders suspended to allow member of the public speak: Concern was raised that the provision of a cashpoint facility, which had been identified during the public meetings, could represent a safety risk if the Community Shop happened to be in a section of a private dwelling. This comment was noted. Standing Orders resumed.


Bristol Hill Post Box: Members also discussed the recent loss of the post box installed outside the former Post Office on Bristol Hill and that a replacement unit should be provided in due course.


Ms P Hillier asked if she could be supplied with further information about the Stutton Community Shop and Cllr B Nichols agreed to liaise with her on this matter.


Cllr M Williams asked if enquiries could be made about the old bus stop. As the current owners usually attended the Parish Council meeting, the question about its availability would be asked then.


Date of next meeting: It was agreed that, considering members availability, the next Committee meeting would take place on September 3rd 2015, at the Large Committee Room, Village Hall.


Suspension of Standing Orders to allow members of the public to speak: Mr Mullet asked if the new Ganges development would include a retail facility, to which Cllr B Nichols replied that no such provision would be in place for at least another three years.


Mrs M Peters suggested looking into a bungalow type property currently available for sale at the bottom of Bristol Hill.


It was also suggested that the Committee could look into whether the former shop would be available for purchase- Mrs W Leeks agreed to make enquiries with the current owners.


Comments were made that the former shop building was over one hundred years old and that perhaps the recent changes to the property layout should not have been permitted. The Clerk informed members that the Babergh’s Planning Enforcement team had already received a report on this matter and was looking into it.


A further suggestion was made that the owners of the caravan park could be approached in case they would consider allowing a section of their land to be used as a possible site- Mr B Powell agreed to make enquiries with the landowner.


With no further matters to be transacted, the meeting ended at 8:50pm.




Signed:___________________________  Date:________________________

By Derek Davis on August 13th, 2015