Closure of Spar store leads to campaign

The Spar in Longhoughton.
The Spar in Longhoughton.

A village convenience shop and post office is set to close, prompting efforts to try to open a community store and campaign to save the key services.

The Longhoughton Spar is expected to shut its doors in April. It incorporated the village post office in 2014 and also includes a hairdressers, Haircrew.

Between the shop, the hairdressers and the post office, the site supports around 11 jobs.

Spar’s parent company, ISS, was contracted to operate the shop in 2011, but the group has decided that it is no longer commercially viable.

RAF Boulmer has vowed to work with the community to try to retain a post office in the village.

A spokeswoman from the base said: “The company ISS was contracted to provide catering, retail and leisure services at RAF Boulmer in 2011, including responsibility for the running of the Spar shop in Longhoughton village.

“With the closure of the village post office in March 2014, ISS agreed to its relocation within the Spar shop.

“The decision by ISS now to close the Spar shop is purely a commercial one as the shop is no longer economically viable. ISS has informed its staff that the shop is likely to close at the end of April.

“The building is owned by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and leased to ISS and Haircrew.

“We will be working with the parish council and Longhoughton community to campaign for the retention of a post office in Longhoughton.”

Longhoughton Parish Council chairman Bryan Ellis said: “If the MoD is prepared to talk about a community effort, we will start putting something together. We will be talking to people who run village stores in north Northumberland.”

ISS declined to comment.