A PLANNING application from the Co-op has been welcomed by villagers who hope it will take over an empty shop that has been vacant since Budgens departed in November.
The application to turn the site of the old Budgens supermarket on Stubbington Green, in Stubbington, into two shops went into Fareham Borough Council yesterday.
As reported, Budgens decided to close its supermarket after its rent was put up, leaving just Iceland to serve the village’s grocery needs.
The decision came as a shock to villagers, who have also been hit by a revised and less frequent bus service as of Sunday.
The plans have been submitted to the council for officer’s consideration and the public will be able to add their views on the council’s planning portal until February 12.
A decision is expected in March.
Stubbington ward councillor Jim Forrest hopes that people will see this application of a sign of good things to come and that they will keep their loyalty to the village.
Cllr Forrest said: ‘It’s great news for Stubbington that one of the country’s biggest retail groups wants to take over a store which has been the heart of our community.
‘While we don’t yet know the details of their plans, it gives hope that residents who have difficulty travelling into Fareham will once more be able to meet most of their shopping needs locally.’
Fareham Crofton county councillor Chris Wood also welcomed the plans.
Cllr Wood said: ‘It is fantastic news that a new store should be coming to Stubbington soon, it is desperately needed and I am certain many of our villagers will be very pleased indeed.’
The application divides the current shop, with one larger unit occupying around 80 per cent of the existing floor space, with a smaller unit on the southern part, alongside the access road outside the Red Lion.
Villager Kathryn Wood, from Sumar Close, 67, said: ‘We need a supermarket of some sort and I would prefer the Co-op than the likes of Tesco.
‘I have certainly missed it, just popping in there for little things. It’s so handy.’
The application can be found at fareham.gov.uk under reference P/14/0024/FP.