Shop1, Castle House, Well Lane, Clare has certainly grabbed everyone’s attention recently. It was previously the ice cream parlour that failed to make the impact that was expected. The shop now stands empty which is never good for Clare.
Recently an application to West Suffolk Council for an alcohols licence for the shop alerted everyone to it being used for something new. There are concerns about the commercial impact on the post office, which we don’t want to lose, but sometimes competition can be healthy.
It is As I understand it is currently a planning use class E which means new planning permission for change of use will not be required.
Use Class E of the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended) was introduced on 1st September 2020 and covers the former use classes of A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional), A3 (restaurants and cafes) as well as parts of D1 (non-residential institutions) and D2(assembly and leisure) and puts them all into one new use class.
As the shop sits within a conservation area there are constraints on what can be done to the building. I have alerted our conservation officer to what is proposed.
I had a great chat with the new owner today and encouraged him to share with everyone what his ambitions are for the shop. Information can sometimes reassure.
Firstly, the owner reassured me there will not be any large HGVs just a small van. He sent me the following:
“We are not here to affect the trading of any other shops or businesses. All we are trying to do is to bring back to the area everything it has lost which includes the following:
1. Wide Range of Pet foods from a local supplier at discounted prices
2. Fresh hot bread and rolls from a local bakery supplier
3. DIY and Hardware
4. Pick n Mix Selection of Sweets for the local children
5. Household Hardware cleaning materials including mop buckets and brooms etc.
6. Logs and kindling
7. Dry cleaning agent
8. Special offer £1 lines
9. Top quality selection of affordable wines
Many of the items we will be stocking are currently not on offer in the local community/village and will be offered to all our customers at very affordable prices.
It is not in our agenda to close any local businesses, but to work with them to provide everything for the villagers and passing trade.
At the moment the shop is an eyesore. when it is finished, it will be in keeping with the area and painted to a very high standard which will compliment the high street.
We sponsor local fetes, schools and football clubs and we only employ local people. We also raise a lot of money for Cancer research and pride ourselves on doing everything we can for the local community.
We have over 45 years of experience in this field and won many awards. We have no intention of encroaching on the Post Office next door and appreciate and respect that this business has been there for many years.
Ultimately, the service we are providing is complimentary to what is already in the village and although there may be the odd crossover, we are there to provide the customers with everything they need which the other stores don’t do.
Planning permission is not required as we are not doing anything which requires any special permissions.”
It would be nice to drive there but if you live in Farmerie road in Hundon it will be impossible to because the pot-holes in the road are becoming so big its almost impassable and damage to cars is a now unavoidable.
Nick. Thank you. Do you know which company is behind this venture please? Many thanks Keith
Hi Keith, I have asked the question but have not had a clear answer to that. I think it is a private individual who will buy from a cash and carry
Looking at the statement from the applicant, you may be correct that this is an individual getting product from a cash and carry outlet. To me it sounds more like a franchise convenience store such as Premier who are known to have significant national growth plans in the small store market.
Their ambitions were launched in January 2022 when the parent company Booker (in turn owned by Tesco) made this announcement “The new format has put a major focus on fresh and chilled products, as well as food to go, vaping and premium spirits. It also includes a Post Office. As well as the dramatic sales increase, the profit margin has increased from 18% to 25% – with Premier aiming to bring this figure up further to around 30%.”
Premier is a leading franchise operator which makes sense of the local ownership statement as the franchisee will have a significant up front investment in the store.
On the question of the store being “painted to a very high standard which will compliment the high street,” the attached link shows what a standard Premier Convenience Store frontage looks like. https://www.booker.co.uk/content/pages/retail/premier.html. That link also shows the range of own brand and other products which are sold by Premier.
I may be totally wrong of course, but it would be helpful if you could obtain confirmation from the person you have spoken to: is this a Premier or similar store franchise ?