Ground broken on site of village’s new shop and Post Office
Published by jessica.britton for Merlin Housing Society in Communities and also in Housing
Stakeholders visit the site
2014 is going to be a big year for Cromhall, when it welcomes it new permanent village shop and Post Office.
The project to build the new Post Office and three much-needed affordable homes, is a partnership between South Gloucestershire Council and Merlin Housing Society. Work is already underway and guests from the council, Merlin, the village shop and the parish council visited the site recently to see its progress.
Chair of Merlin’s Board Andrew Frayling said: “The Post Office and village shop is the heart of the Cromhall community. We’re delighted we’ve been able to work in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council to finally give it a permanent home, and offer affordable housing in this rural community.”
Cllr John O’Neill, whose Charfield ward includes Cromhall added:: “This development being delivered by Merlin in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council will bring much needed affordable housing to Cromhall.
“The residents are excited at the prospect of having a permanent Post Office and store after almost twenty years. This will be the only retail outlet in the village and is eagerly awaited by the community.”
Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Adults and Housing Committee Cllr Matthew Riddle said: “I’m pleased to see the start of this hugely exciting development for Cromhall.
“Local post offices and shops can be a vital focus for rural community life and I am sure that these new permanent facilities will serve their community well.
“I am also pleased that the development will include new affordable homes for the village. There is enormous demand for affordable housing in our rural areas and the council is committed to working with organisations such as Merlin to help meet this demand.”
Patrick Martin, chairman of the village shop, said: “Everyone is very positive in the village and looking forward to the new shop opening this year. It’s been a temporary home for 17 years. I think knowing that we are going to be moving into a purpose built shop and Post Office means our future is assured.
“We’re a non-profit organisation run by the community for the benefit of the community. We have more than 30 volunteers who help run the shop, and they give up an awful lot of time to help out, which shows how strong the community spirit in the village is.”
Merlin’s Development Officer Shane Smith said: “It’s great to be underway and to know that in a few months time this popular village Post Office and shop will have a permanent home. This is our first rural development and will also be the first affordable homes built in the village for many years.”
The building work is taking place on the site that the village shop and post office used to occupy in their portakabin. The shop has moved to a temporary site while the building work is taking place. South Gloucestershire Council’s contribution to the scheme will include the land, as well as £100,000 of capital funding towards building costs for the new Post Office.
The new homes will include a one-bedroom flat above the new Post Office plus two two-bedroom houses, built to a high quality, energy efficient design that will benefit tenants by providing lower running costs.
The affordable housing will be built and operated by Merlin, which is the largest housing association in South Gloucestershire.