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The East of England Co-op have announced their interest in opening a shop within Stradbroke. The proceedings are at a very early stage and, as was announced at the July Parish Council by Roger Turkington, they are seeking a Village meeting to outline their plans and begin the process consultation

Over the coming weeks the Co-op hope to submit a planning application which will be subject to all the usual rigours of the process and the PC and residents will be able to comment. Clearly the proximity of the primary school is of utmost concern to many residents and it will be for the Co-op to satisfy the planners and the village that steps are being taken to mitigate against all safety concerns.

The first step will be the village meeting, the date of which is currently being arranged in consultation with the Co-op and the PC with early September in mind. The Co-op have indicated they aim to share their plans in a public meeting for all to see.  This will provide everyone with the opportunity to meet with the Co-op team, express their "hopes and fears" and to see for themselves what is being proposed.

The Co-op have made it very clear that they want to work with the community on this possible development and will consult widely, not just to satisfy the planning process, but because they genuinely want to work with the communities they serve. More details will be posted as soon as they come available.

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Dismay over Spar Shop

We have heard that there ​will ​be further delays before Spar re-open our village store. The Spar shop closed last September and after a period of prolonged uncertainty​,​ a representative of AF Blakemore (Spar licensee) attended a public meeting in the village in December 2013 and informed a packed Community Centre that a completely re-furbished store under new management would be open in late April or May ​ 2014.​
The premises have indeed been re-furbished but Spar f​ailed​ to apply for the necessary premises licence​,​ adding more delay. In the meantime the Co-op announced an intention to open a new store in Stradbroke on a different site. ​Spar had been informed of the Co-op's interest in the village many months ago but clearly failed to make the new proprietors (Damian Royal and Rachel Lambley) aware of this fact.
We now learn that ​Damian and Rachel have decided to withdraw their interest​,​ because all figures they were given by Spar were based on a sole trader model​​. The management company has not been willing, or able, to reconsider th​eir terms ​to make it a viable proposition. We all feel badly let down by Af Blakemore and hope that they will now re-double their efforts to get the store open. After all it is not in their interest to have a fully refurbished shop sitting empty.
The editors would like to express there heartfelt concerns over what has happened to them. We know how hard they have worked to get the shop open for the village and that they have invested heavily into the project. We hope they can find an alternative business opportunity as soon as possible.

Facts Behind the Story{/AC}