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'Who wants John Lewis?' - Do you think north Norfolk has too many charity shops?

PUBLISHED: 13:23 11 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:27 11 February 2019

A new PACT charity shop is opening in Holt, near Budgens supermarket. Photo: JONO READ

A new PACT charity shop is opening in Holt, near Budgens supermarket. Photo: JONO READ

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A new charity shop opening in a north Norfolk town next month has prompted an outcry after residents questioned whether the number of second hand shops was "killing the high street".

Norfolk-based animal sanctuary PACT is set to open the high-end second-hand shop in early March.

And charity co-founder Chris Rockingham has said the store will offer shoppers a treasure trove of unwanted designer items and nearly-new fashion bargains.

She said: “It’s going to be similar to the Dove Street charity shop in Norwich - with antique, vintage and retro designer clothes.

“We have a whole range of charity shops from the high end to the low end.

Chris and George Rockingham with dogs Ralph and Siri. PHOTO: Chris RockinghamChris and George Rockingham with dogs Ralph and Siri. PHOTO: Chris Rockingham

“I think charity shops help other shops because they get people on the high street.

“It’s also good for the environment if things can be reused or recycled rather than thrown away.”

But residents in the town have questioned whether the shop, which will open in an empty unit between Budgens of Holt and the High Street, is really needed, with some saying the number is affecting business rates, and others simply saying: “Spare us.”

Vicky Riches said: “God, not another one. We need a cheap supermarket or something that is useful to this expensive town.”

PACT volunteer manager, Bernie Barton, who is recruiting volunteers for the new shop, said it will offer a cheaper alternative to name brand department stores.

Mr Barton, a retired business owner, said: “People say ‘oh there’s too many charity shops’ but who wants John Lewis there with their prices?

“It’s all right now and again for something special [but] we haven’t got that many charity shops.”

He added that the store will be “a bit designer” and added: “They call PACT sort of the Harrods charity shop.”

The unit has stood empty for some time and is set to open on March3. Photo: JONO READThe unit has stood empty for some time and is set to open on March3. Photo: JONO READ

And Mr Barton said money from the charity’s 12 shops across Norfolk was vital to their work rescuing abandoned and abused animals, pets and wildlife.

He said: “We’re not the only sanctuary in Norfolk but we have over 2,000 animals there.

“We get a huge amount of clothes into our shops and we need the money for the animals, and to keep the sanctuary open.

“Its animals who are abused and we’ve got to pay the vets bills and keep it running, so having another shop open is quite good for us.”

Chris and George Rockingham of PACT with a hedgehog. PHOTO: Chris RockinghamChris and George Rockingham of PACT with a hedgehog. PHOTO: Chris Rockingham

Holt resident Kathryn Allison said: “It’s better than sitting empty and if it helps some animals I’m for it.

“It’s not going be everyone’s first choice, maybe not mine either but it’s not empty anymore.”

The 32-year-old stay-at-home mum added: “For some people on low incomes, a big population in Holt, this may come in handy. I love a charity shop bargain and quite often have a mooch about with my little boy for books.”

The shop will open on Sunday, March 3 in the unit near Feathers Yard, in Holt. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Bernie Barton on 07919 022352.

READ MORE: New bridal shop opens its doors in Norfolk town

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