Community take-over plan for Cononley village store

Craven Herald: Cononley Parish Council chairman Lois Brown Cononley Parish Council chairman Lois Brown

A campaign could be launched in Cononley to buy the local post office and shop.

Cononley Parish Council will meet on Tuesday to consider whether the community should take on the shop, at the junction of Main Street and Crosshills Road.

The shop has been for sale for two years and discussions have been ongoing since October over the possibility of the community buying it.

Coun Lois Brown, chairman of Cononley Parish Council, said: “We wouldn’t be doing it as a parish council because it would be a commercial enterprise but we can be a catalyst for such a project.”

Coun Brown and the parish clerk, Stephanie Wheelhouse, have carried out fact-finding discussions and visited other community-owned shops, such as the one in Burton-in-Lonsdale.

“This is only in the early stages and our next step is to consult villagers through a community survey,” said Coun Brown.

The survey would have two aims – to find out whether the community wishes to retain the shop and in what format, and to look for potential members of the community who might be interested in being involved in such a venture.

Coun Brown said the council had also contacted the Plunkett Foundation, which helps rural villages set up community-owned shops or co-operative pubs.

As part of the fact-finding mission, Coun Brown has visited similar shops in Cheshire and one that her parents help to run in the Northumberland village of Humshaugh.

“One of the things that’s important to people in Cononley is the post office and shop because it’s there for the community,” added Coun Brown.

“The idea of a community-owned shop is exciting but something like this needs backing.”

The meeting will be held in the village institute at 7pm.

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