A VILLAGE shop will turn into an antique shop and delicatessen if the local authority approve the plans.
But Fittleworth villagers and the parish council hoped the shop would remain as a community provision, and the plans caused a ‘heated discussion’ at their annual meeting in May.
And the problem wasn’t resolved by Monday’s (June 3) meeting of the council, when the councillors decided register their objection to the application.
“We had no objection with the external aspects of the application, improving the outside of the shop, but we concluded that the inside changes we inconsistent,” said parish council chairman Chris Welfare.
“They were talking about a deli/cafe, but extending behind that to give a large kitchen for domestic use.”
He said the parish council ‘viewed with dismay’ the loss of the village shop, and hoped in the future a community shop might take its place.
The former shop in Fittleworth, which was once a newsagents, grocery store and post office, has been closed since February 2011 after shopkeeper Diane Newsom was taken ill and died.
The building was finally bought by Robert Hastings, after a series of potential buyers, and he plans to make various changes to the building.
This includes splitting the retail part into an antiques shop, and a cafe-style deli.
He also wants to extend the kitchen area in the domestic part of the building, encroaching onto the retail side.
Ian Harkness, agent for the applicant, said: “The store and post office have been closed for a number of years so it is believed that the creation of a delicatessen will offer an important facility for the village whilst also attracting custom from nearby from nearby areas.
“The opening of this business will boost the rural community and economy by providing both a business and a social focus.”
Visit the South Downs National Park Authority’s planning website here to view the plans.