VILLAGERS have spoken of their upset after a popular village shop closed suddenly.
Southwick Village Stores, in Southwick, near Fareham, shut on Monday due to structural problems with the building.
It is not known whether the store, which is also a tea rooms, post office and bakery and is famous for its flavoured pasties, will reopen or not as extensive work needs to be undertaken to make the building safe.
One villager, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘This leaves us without any shops or access to a post office – the nearest shops are over the hill in Cosham. We’ve already lost our bus service so elderly residents are effectively marooned in the village if they do not drive.
‘I’m very perturbed, as are some other friends, that this village is dying with every facility gradually being destroyed.’
The shop is owned by Southwick Estate. Mark Thistlethwayte, from the estate, said: ‘It is with reluctance that Southwick Estate has had to request its tenant, Richard and Rachel Shaw, close the village shop. The estate has been renovating the building and hoped to keep the shop open for the duration of these works.
‘However, this week work revealed structural defects in the building that had previously not been known and following advice from surveyors and others, we had to act to protect everyone on the grounds of safety. This issue was not expected and there was no advance plan for the closure.
‘We are now in discussions with our tenant and the Post Office as to what arrangements can be made while the building work is completed. Once we have information we will ensure the community is made aware.’