I think that Radley can rightly be proud of its Village Shop. In the nine years since it opened, it has become a social centre for the village, where we can buy most of what we need, usually from someone we know – and also enjoy a pleasant chat. But things could so easily have been quite different.
When Sylvia and I came to live in Radley in 1999, there were 3 shops and a Post Office. By 2006, the last shop had closed, followed by the Post Office in 2013. Fortunately the Parish Council was able to persuade Graham Steinsburg and many others to set up the village shop, and it has been a real success story. With a full time manager and about 60 volunteers who contribute 150 hours per week, Radley Village shop has a weekly turnover of around £5000, not only paying its way, but also contributing to local good causes. Many volunteers have found that the shop has given them an interest in life and a way of making new friends.
What comes next? There will certainly be more customers as the village grows. So I think that the forthcoming Radley Neighbourhhood Plan should include a new Village Shop, to be paid for in part by the levy on the developers. This new shop should be two or three times as big as the present shop, which would allow space for a post office counter, a small coffee shop and more space for selling those extra things that we would like, but which can’t be fitted into the present small space.
What do you think?
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