Villagers bid to open ‘community shop’

The former Gedney Dyke village shop and post office.
The former Gedney Dyke village shop and post office.
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Three villagers are asking others to get behind their efforts to resurrect Gedney Dyke general store and post office.

Questionnaires will go out to more than 500 homes in Gedney Dyke and Gedney Drove End in the next few days, asking residents’ opinions on setting up a community shop to replace the one that closed suddenly just a few weeks ago.

The four-page document has been compiled – and paid for – by semi-retired entrepreneur Lyn Watson, chartered accountant Nina Waymont and builder and groundworker Alan Day.

They are hoping the village will get on board with their plans for a community shop – owned and run by villagers themselves.

There are currently around 300 such shops across the UK and they enjoy a very high success rate because villagers have a vested interest in supporting them.

Mr Watson said: “The village shop in Gedney Dyke was well-used and a place where people met up for a chat.

“It it greatly missed, not least because it is at least two miles to the next nearest shop in Fleet Hargate, across the other side of the A17 and there is no public transport to get there.

“Many residents of Gedney Drove End also used the shop as they passed through Gedney Dyke on their way home, and it would probably be a six or seven mile detour for them to get to the nearest shop.

“It was much more than just a shop and post office, it was a focal point for the village.”

Mr Watson and friends hope to compile the results of the survey and hold a public meeting next month to discuss the results with villagers.

They then hope to set about raising the money to buy the premises vacated by the previous shop.

The premises, which include a four-bedroom home, are currently on the market for £210,000.

Mr Watson said: “John Hayes MP is looking into funding from a pot allocated by the Government to help communities buy their shops and pubs, and we will also apply to the lottery and other grants.

“But we also be issuing shares so residents can buy a slice of the project, and hopefully some of the big farms will invest too.”

The Post Office has already said it would be interested in re-opening a counter at the shop, which would have one full-time member of staff with help from village volunteers.

Mrs Waymont said: “There is lots of work to be done to raise the money to buy the premises, but we think it is possible.”

And third committee member Alan Day added: “We very much hope that the residents of Gedney Dyke and Gedney Drove End and local businesses in both villages – particularly the large farms – will support us and get involved in this exciting project.”