Village store hoping to follow café’s trail

Vyner Park in Swarland
Vyner Park in Swarland

The return of a village shop in a north Northumberland community could be on the cards thanks to the get-up-and-go of a resident.

Becky Bagnall, from Swarland, along with her partner Gary Cameron, has proposed setting up a new store, selling fruit and vegetables, flowers, plants and daily essentials.

But in a clever twist, which will save time, money and the need for a permanent building, the shop would be based in a shepherd’s hut – a wooden cabin on wheels.

In August, we reported on Swarland’s new community café, which is providing a real focal point at the heart of the village.

Nelson’s at the Park, which opened at the start of July, is located in the pavilion in Vyner Park and is being run as a not-for-profit social enterprise, with the aim of pumping funds back into the park area.

And Becky, who runs two holiday cottages in the village as well as working at The Running Fox in Felton, said that the success of Nelson’s has inspired her plans.

“We have lived here nearly 10 years and when the shop here shut, we were quite sad,” she said.

“With Nelson’s opening, it’s brought the community back out again.

“We don’t want to step on Nelson’s toes or the working men’s club, which sells newspapers and things.

“I hope the people will support it and I will do my best to promote it as a good business.”

In terms of the hut, the construction, materials, time, labour, interior and exterior decoration and stock will all be purchased by Becky and Gary.

The proposal is to situate the hut in the car park at Vyner Park, a convenient central location that should also enhance the facilities there and create more footfall.

Becky will run the shop on a day-to-day basis and there are no utility costs for the parish council or park charity committee to worry about as the electricity is provided by battery, heating by a log burner and water by bottle. There is no need for building work either.

The parish council was due to discuss the proposals at its meeting last night, while the next meeting of the Vyner Park Charity is in November.