Ousted Blickling Hall shop finds new outlet

A specialist food shop forced to leave its premises at the National Trust's Blickling Hall has found a new outlet nearby for some of its fare.

Samphire, which sells its own rare-breed meat products and other local food, has started supplying the community-run shop at Itteringham with pork pies, sausage rolls and chocolate tiffin.

The village is at the edge of the Blickling estate, a mile and a half from the stately home where Jeff and Karen Nethercott had run their Samphire shop, in a Dutch barn at the car park entrance, for five-and-a-half years.

The shop shut on Christmas eve because the National Trust would not renew its lease. The Trust said it had felt for many years that its was doing its visitors a 'disservice' in that area which it planned to totally transform.

Samphire's closure sparked protests from customers, including a Save Our Samphire page on social networking site Facebook.

And food critic Giles Coren, who in 2005 dubbed Samphire pork pies the best he'd ever tasted, described the Trust's decision as 'lunacy' in his Times column earlier this month.

A spokesman for Itteringham's Village Shop said they shared the same philosophy as the Nethercotts, who promote quality, locally-produced food. Samphire's first delivery had sold out by mid afternoon.

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In an open letter to opponents of the move, Helen Bailey, general manager of the Blickling estate, said they were developing and strengthening relationships with neighbours and the local community to ensure they understood their views and expectations. Inevitably, there were decisions they had to make which did not please everyone.