Blockley shop build passes important milestone

Cotswold Journal: Builders Lee Elvins, Stephen Harrison, Richard Goode, Matt Golding, Matt Stone and Shaun Bosworth. Picture by Alan Thornton. Builders Lee Elvins, Stephen Harrison, Richard Goode, Matt Golding, Matt Stone and Shaun Bosworth. Picture by Alan Thornton.

THE project to build Blockley's new Village Shop, Café and Community Hub passed an important milestone last week.

Excavation of the six-metre deep basement has been completed and concreting has now begun.

But it was a tough job for the Spectus Construction team who have been digging out more than 500 tons of spoil and putting in steel sheet piling to reinforce the walls.

The next stage is to install a special membrane and waterproof concrete to ensure that the new basement remains dry which will be used mainly for storage of stock, including frozen goods.

The £750,000 hub, which has been in the making for seven years, will include a shop, post office,

café and disabled toilet and will house a wide range of community initiatives.

Pam Merritt, Blockley Co-operative Association member, said work is on track for the new hub which is hoped to be completed by the summer.

"It's very exciting, we just hope the weather will be kind and everything will carry on as it is now," she said. "Everybody's interested and everybody's enthusiastic."

Meanwhile, the rollercoaster story of Blockley villagers’ fight to save and build a new shop, café and village hub will be told in a new book.

Published by the Blockley Heritage Society in early autumn to coincide with the official opening, it is being written by society chairman Rob Willott and Ms Merritt, and will include photos by Alan Thornton and colourful anecdotes from the shop manager, Chris Grimes.

Mr Willott, who was involved in the early years of the shop on the committee, said: "It just seemed logical the heritage society should initiate something like this.

"There were quite a few successful factors, shops aren't the easiest things to run. This one here is so successful and the fact it's been so popular shows a lot about the calibre about the people who do it. "Hopefully it was prosper in the new building."

His co-writer Ms Merritt added: "I think it's a story that needs to be told. There are lessons that other projects could learn.

"There are a lot of things that took a lot longer than we thought like planning and the huge costs incurred by that.

"I has been a rollercoaster. It's just nice to see the concrete being poured now."

This year, May Day celebrations will take place on Sunday, May 4 at the Sports Ground in Station Road. People who would like a stall should email sharon.penfold111@btinternet.com.

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