Local residents are asking for a planning application to be refused so an Isle of Wight village can get its ‘heart’ back — even though the local shop has been closed for the past 11 years.
An application has been submitted to change the use of the former Pond Stores, in Bonchurch, to residential, incorporating the retail space into the house behind it.
The store, which also housed a Post Office, has been closed since October 2009, something residents say has been sorely missed. However, the owner, Brenda Jackson, said despite her best efforts it was not a successful business.
A shop had operated at the site, on Bonchurch Village Road opposite the pond, since the 1960s, with the post office joining in the late ’70s to early ’80s. In planning documents, Mrs Jackson said she had, in 2009, put the shop up for sale but there was no interest.
Since the shop’s closure, Bonchurch has ‘undergone major changes’, says Mrs Jackson, which has reduced the potential for a viable business even further. Residents, however, have disagreed strongly with the application and argue the village is thriving with more people living and working in the area who need, and would ‘undoubtedly support’ a local shop, which was once extremely popular.
In objections submitted to the Isle of Wight Council, one resident said it was the missing thing on the village’s supposed high street, with others saying the shop had closed before they even knew it was for sale but hoped someone new, with fresh ideas, could take it on.
To view, or comment, on the application (20/01926/FUL) you can visit the council’s planning portal. Comments will be accepted until February 26.