Talks on future of ‘Little Shop’

THE future of Winchelsea’s community run Little Shop will be under the microscope at a special meeting on Saturday.

The Winchelsea Little Shop Association are holding an EGM to consider a proposal for dissolution.

The WLSA is a community-owned company that was set up in 2001 to rescue the Little Shop in Winchelsea. The shop, and post office, which was rescued by the community in 2004, were sold in 2007 to Winchelsea Farm Foods, owned by Mr and Mrs Rumsey of Ashes Farm in Icklesham.

The Rumseys also purchased the award-winning butchers shop run by Jamie Wickens and the tea room in Winchelsea.

Winchelsea councillor Richard Comotto said: “The WLSA now holds the funds from the sale of the shop and post office, about £43,000. A group of shareholders, led by Mrs Rumsey, wish to dissolve the WLSA and disburse its funds.

“They are asking the EGM to conduct the necessary postal ballot of shareholders. They claim that the future of the shop is assured, so there is no need to keep the money, and that low interest rates mean the value of the money is being eroded.

“Those opposing the dissolution proposal argue that the money provides Winchelsea with an insurance policy against new challenges in an increasingly uncertain future and that interest rates are now expected to rise.

“The opponents of dissolution also note that the proposal requires the approval of 75% of all shareholders and have organised a petition which has already signed by more than 25% of shareholders, which means that the proposal is certain to fail. They will therefore be calling on the EGM to abandon the proposal for a postal ballot as a waste of money.

“The debate over the future of the WLSA has been intensified by the news that Jamie Wickens is no longer working at Winchelsea Farm Foods, ending an association with the town of almost 30 years.”