Lythe Stores could become community hub

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A village store may become a community venture as residents fight to keep it open.

A campaign is underway to save Lythe Stores, and one suggestion has been that it could be operated by residents in the village.

Sally Coward is part of the team which has been leading the campaign.

She said that stores form a vital part of the local community. “The thought of losing it is awful, it’s what makes a village,” she said. “We think that it’s really important to have a shop in Lythe and if we can all get behind it, even in a small way, it can be viable.”

Questionnaires have been handed out in the Lythe area in an attempt to gather information about what amenities residents would like to see available.

One of the main aspects could see the return of Post Office facilities to the store.

“We’ve had several meetings,” said Mrs Coward. “One of the things that came through in a very strong way is that they are desperate for the post office back.”

Another suggestion is for the store to become a community venture, operated by residents of the village under the guidance of the current manager, Martyn Needham.

Mrs Coward said: “He’s put his heart and soul into this so it’s very upsetting he might not be able to carry on.”

The building which houses Lythe Stores is owned by the Mulgrave Estate.

Estate spokesperson John Hoyes said he supports any proposal to save the store and added that discussions are underway with the Post Office to bring it back to the village.

He said: “The store is absolutely key to the sustainability of the local community, so we must do all we can to support the village shop.

“The village shop fulfills a far greater role than just a place to buy provisions, it’s a community hub and the Estate fully supports of concept of community-run store.”