Iconic community shop is back from the brink of eviction with new 99-year lease
- Credit: Archant
It has stood at the heart of its village community for almost 400 years, and it is again thriving after surviving the threat of eviction.
And now the future of Itteringham Village Shop is secure, after the association behind it signed a 99-year lease with the council.
Mike Hemsley, committee member of the Itteringham Community Association, the volunteer group which runs the shop, said: "The lease is very significant because that secures us in the building.
"It's taken two years of negotiation, so that now we've got a lease that is substantial and we're safe in our position for 99 years.
"In 2017 we were threatened with eviction because the landlord of Fair Meadow House, which is attached to the house, wanted to sell up."
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Luckily North Norfolk District Council stepped in and bought the whole property, leasing the shop back to the association for a peppercorn rent and transforming Fair Meadow House into a holiday let.
The shop is also celebrating being awarded a grant of £7,500 from the National Lottery Community Fund, which has been used to have much -needed air conditioning installed.
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Mr Hemsley said: "Last year saw internal temperatures peak above 30 degrees centigrade.
"The air conditioning now helps maintain lower internal summer temperatures, keep stock fresh, customers cool and staff very happy."
The grant will also pay for the fitting out of a social space on the mezzanine area above the shop's gallery for small groups to meet including book clubs, sewing groups and artists.
There has been a village shop in Itteringham since 1637.
In 1997, its then owner, Brian Fairhead became terminally ill, and the association was formed to keep it running.
A different 'manager of the day' runs the store along with other volunteers, and the shop puts a focus on stocking goods and produce from local suppliers.
The association plan to celebrate 25 years of running the store in October.
As well as the shop, the venture also includes a cafe and a branch of the post office.
The shop is open every day from 9am to 5.30pm, and until 4pm on Sundays.