A VILLAGE near Tadley has welcomed a village shop and café for the first time in 16 years.

Charter Alley that lies two miles away from Tadley now has a shop and café, thanks to a couple of new residents. 

Niranjan and Veronika Raj opened the new shop on Saturday, August 13, after moving to the village just three months ago.

Veronika said the shop has all essential items along with a cafe to cater to the needs of the villagers.

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“We are focussing on quality products, especially gluten-free and vegan product lines. We want to give a combination of all their (residents) needs.

“We are trying to get to know what residents really want to have in the shop like specific lines or products. We will include those items as well in the future.

“We really want this to be their village shop. We are just stocking their products that they need."

She continued: "People feel that they have a place to hang out now. A few of the ladies who visited us told me that it's like a heart of the village. They told me the village cafe and the shop brought back a part of the village."

The couple, who live above the shop, moved to Charter Alley from Old Basing.

Veronika said the family has already fallen in love with the village.

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She said: “I'm really loved this place as soon as I visited - it's quite calm.

“The community here is so lovely. As they have had their cup of coffee in the past two to three days, we've been chatting with everyone. They're so lovely and really excited. It's been wonderful for all of us.”

The building where the shop is located used to be a salon. Veronika and Niranjan decided to take over the tenancy when the salon business moved to another address.