Community hub gains backing
Pop-up shop plan for empty buildings
A GROUP which hopes to boost a village high street has expressed its frustrations about landlords who own empty buildings.
The Village Action Group in Chalfont St Peter hopes to transform an empty shop into a community hub which would include a tourist centre and meeting place.
Member of the group, Bob Older, earmarked the formerChalfontHomeware Stores in Market Place which has been empty for about two and a half years as a good spot to set up community-orientated displays and information stands.
Mr Older said: “I have found that landlords are unwilling to even open discussion on such an idea (as a community hub) and seem to prefer to leave their properties abandoned pending a new full rentpaying tenant rather than take the opportunity to give a little back to the community on which their businesses are ultimately based.
“Nevertheless, we would be delighted to hear from anyone with suggestions as to how we could move forward with this overall aim of cherishing our high street.”
The group offered to refurbish the front of the building and protect the interior from damp.
Manager of the building Mahesh Patel, whose sister-in-law Parul Patel owns the building, says they will be willing to work with the group after they conclude a lease forfeiture with the previous tenant and enter a planning application for an expansion of the basement.
Mr Patel will then also try to rent the premises out ‘as soon as possible’.
He said: “I would love to work with the local guys. We do not mind helping out but the problem is we do not have possession of the property yet.”
Mr Patel says they should be able to finish their legal process and planning application within ‘a couple of weeks’.
The Chamber of Commerce has backed the idea of a pop-up shop in Chalfont St Peter and have also suggested this building should be used for the community if it is without a tenant.