Loss of only shop 'tears out heart of village'

Basingstoke Gazette: Loss of only shop 'tears out heart of village' Loss of only shop 'tears out heart of village'

“THE heart of the village has been torn out,” said the former proprietor of Anna Valley’s only shop as he watched it being demolished.

Builders moved into the former post office and village shop in Foundry Road at the beginning of last week to demolish the building and turn it into two flats.

Former postmaster Geoff Porteous, who ran the shop with wife Lynda for 33 years, told the Advertiser that after two years of unsuccessfully trying to find someone to run the local convenience, developing the site was the only option left.

He said: “It is the heart of the village torn out. It is the end of the era which is sadly going to happen again and again up and down the country because of no real support.

“Lyn and I feel very sad that we have had to be the people that have closed the village store. It wasn’t our intention and it was circumstances really.

“There is nothing in the village for people who met here and had a chat, that doesn’t happen anymore.”

Mr and Mrs Porteous, who took over the shop in 1978 when the Tasker factory’s workforce made up most of their customers, said that the business became unviable when the post office was closed four years ago, losing almost £20,000 income a year.

The couple closed the shop in 2011 and had 10 to 12 people show interest in taking on the business, including a butcher, hairdresser and even a cafe. However, none of these applications were taken further.

Mr Porteous believes the one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwellings will be finished in six months.

The village store featured in the Andover Advertiser 15 years ago, when Mrs Porteous won a competition run by the newspaper for a shop re-fit.


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