Apathy kills off shop proposal

Ferryden Post Office and shop.
Ferryden Post Office and shop.

APATHY and the internet seem to have killed off any hopes of starting up a community-run shop in Ferryden, community councillors have been told.

The idea was put forward by resident Maureen Heron who was keen to see a shop return to the village, with the hope it could become a community hub and meeting place. The results of a survey carried out around Ferryden, however, indicate there is not enough support to get the scheme off the ground.

At Thursday’s community council meeting, member Sandy Nicoll said that flyers had been produced and distributed door-to-door but only 33 had been returned, five of which were negative.

He said: “It just looks as if the village isn’t interested. Since the community let the shop die, I wasn’t really sure we’d be able to get anything going. It’s just the way the village is.”

The village shop and Post Office closed in 2011, due to the difficult economic climate. With little passing traffic, owner Brian Noble relied largely on village residents, but at the time said this alone was not enough to make the shop viable.

While Post Office Limited now runs a replacement outreach postal service from Inchbrayock Church hall, nothing has replaced the shop itself, which Maureen said was still missed by villagers as there is no outlet closer than Montrose to buy convenience items.

She put forward the idea initially last year and investigated how viable a community-run facility would be. After receiving the community council’s backing, she carried out her own door-to-door survey and found there was a measure of support.

She then contacted the Community Retailing Network for advice on how to set up a shop and form a co-operative which would have run the facility initially and, she hoped, provided work experience in the retail sector for young adults seeking employment.

Maureen this week said she was disappointed that so few of the 450 survey flyers were returned although most of the comments were positive.

She said: “I think that’s game over. The community has spoken, and there just aren’t enough people interested.

“We’ve done our best and got a disappointing result. Even if it had been over 100 returns, that would’ve been something, but I think we’ll just have to call it a day.

“I do appreciate everyone who did make the effort to fill out the questionnaire. It did get a lot of positive comments and even three volunteers, but it’s a pity there weren’t enough to get it going.”

Community councillors speculated that internet ordering and delivery services for local supermarkets could be partly to blame for the lack of interest.

Alistair Pullar said: “It’s maybe too long a gap since the shop closed and people have found alternative places to shop. I’ve seen vans for the Co-op, Tesco and even Asda delivering in the village so perhaps that has taken its place.”

Chairman Gordon Brown said the reaction is “a shame” but pointed out that the gauging reaction in the early stages was more useful than sourcing grant funding first and finding out the scheme would not be viable.