Magic runs out as village’s oldest shop shuts after 50 years

The Magic Box newsagent in Clanfield has closed
The Magic Box newsagent in Clanfield has closed
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  • Clanfield’s oldest shop closes after 50 years
  • Newsagent could not compete with nearby convenience stores
  • Applied for permission to open chip shop but was refused
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TRADERS have spoken of their sadness following the closure of the oldest shop in their village.

Magic Box, a newsagents, opened in the early 1960s but, following a fall in trade, has closed for good.

Now we are left with just an empty shop and that is a shame

Charlie Cumbers

The shop, in Drift Road, Clanfield, was much-loved by youngsters in the past who have been reminiscing on social media about popping in on their way home from school to treat themselves to penny sweets.

But competition for newspapers and cigarettes from the nearby Co-op and Costcutter became too much for the owner, Satheeskumar Yogarajah, who applied to turn it into a fish and chip shop.

That was refused by East Hampshire District Council twice, on the grounds it would be too noisy and smelly for residents.

In a report the council said the loss of a shop would ‘undermine the vitality and viability of the primary shopping area’.

Charlie Cumbers, the owner of Clanfield Trading Centre, a few doors down, said: ‘The owner applied to turn it into a cafe but because people objected, the plans were turned down.

‘Now we are left with just an empty shop and that is a shame.’

The shop was eventually closed on December 19.

The News has been unable to trace Mr Yogarajah.

Nigel Hadwen opened Clanfield Greengrocer and Florist, next door to the Magic Box, in 1986.

He said the closure was not indicative of business in the area, which he said was good.

But he believes the problem was, the competition for a newsagent which only sold papers, tobacco and confectionary was too great.

He added: ‘It’s really sad that it’s closed but they had everything stacked against them.

‘You have the government curtailing cigarette sales.

‘And the potential curtailing of sweet sales through sugar tax.

‘I know they tried to move into other areas but unfortunately they could not compete with the big convenience stores.

‘A lot of people have written on my Facebook page about their memories of buying penny sweets there.

‘And a lot of our Saturday staff started off as paperboys there.

‘Once they had done it for a few years they moved up to work for us.’

Chris de Mellow, who runs a wealth management company in Drift Road, said: ‘I guess it’s a sign of the times.

‘It’s difficult in this age for a newsagent to keep going.

‘They were a fantastic couple but I believe they struggled to make a profit.