BRATTON Fleming is planning to build its own shop and the innovative scheme is well on the way thanks to the enthusiasm of the community. It is hoped to win grant funding to move the current Bratton Fleming Stores to a purpose-built premises on land at th
BRATTON Fleming is planning to build its own shop and the innovative scheme is well on the way thanks to the enthusiasm of the community.It is hoped to win grant funding to move the current Bratton Fleming Stores to a purpose-built premises on land at the Millennium Green.Unlike many community shops, which are run by volunteers, the new store would be owned by the village in perpetuity, but leased to current Bratton Fleming Stores proprietor Steve Cotten. The existing store is hugely popular and as the only village shop, forms a massive focal and information point for the community.The project is being overseen by a committee of parish councillors, Millennium Green trustees and members of the public."We would have a bigger shop, hopefully with the part time Post Office moving into it too, plus a wider range of local products," explained Mr Cotten."We already employ two full time and five part time staff. The shop provides money for the community and is already a viable business - it would be made even more viable if the village owned the premises, ensuring it always remained as a shop."Parish Councillor Frank Benbow, who is leading the project, said following two public meetings and a survey of parishioners, support from the community had been "almost overwhelming" in support of the scheme."Grant applications are already underway," he added."Now the plan is to get a design statement finished, the site surveyed and then we will be inviting a number of architects to come up with plans."District and parish councillor Malcolm Prowse said the village had to think of the future. The shop is already a hub for local people and Mr Cotten tries to stock as much local produce as humanly possible:North Devon MP Nick Harvey was impressed by what he heard: "This is an innovative solution to the village shop problem, combining the best of community effort with genuine commercial enterprise - and if it can be made to work it is something other areas will watch with interest," he said.