End of an era as community shop set to close

Cotswold Journal: The village shop in Temple Guiting is closing down after 10 years because they can't get a long enough lease or afford to build a new shop. Shop committee chairman David Shepherd Cross, right, with unhappy shop staff and villagers. Picture by Nick Toogoo The village shop in Temple Guiting is closing down after 10 years because they can't get a long enough lease or afford to build a new shop. Shop committee chairman David Shepherd Cross, right, with unhappy shop staff and villagers. Picture by Nick Toogoo

A COMMUNITY shop in a Cotswold village is calling time after more than a decade.

Villagers in Temple Guiting say the effort of running the shop is falling on the shoulders of fewer and fewer volunteers.

And with the shop's owner, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, unable to offer a long-term six-year lease on the current site, villagers have decided to call it a day.

The shop is set to close on Sunday, May 25.

The college has offered a new piece of land opposite the current site on a long lease where a new shop could be built. But the shop committee would need to raise about £60,000 to do this.

David Shepherd-Cross, chairman of the Temple Guiting Community Shop Association, said the adjoining cottage at the current shop also needs repairs and the lease being offered is not long enough to warrant carrying them out.

“They offered us an alternative piece of land but we don’t have the appetite to raise the money required to move the shop,” he said.

“It’s sad but inevitable. Fewer and fewer of us are doing more and more. Even if we didn’t have the issue with the lease renewal I think we’re running out of steam anyway.”

Over the years the shop has faced some tough times and was saved from closure in 2001 when the community rallied round and raised more than £3,500 by becoming members of a provident society.

And three years later, customers were warned they could lose the shop forever after it was hit with falling profits.

Mr Shepherd-Cross feels they have done well to keep it open for so long.

“We’re a very small village with only about 200 people here,” he said. “Not only do we need customers but volunteers who are prepared to give their time to operate the shop. We are losing our volunteers and it’s becoming more and more difficult.”

The shop will remain open from 9am to noon Tuesday to Sunday with the post office opening for two hours a week up until the closing date.

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