Store closure heralds new dawn for Wheathampstead

CLOSURE of a village store is not usually cause for celebration – but in Wheathampstead it will mark the end of a long wait for better facilities.

One-Stop Shop in the village is due to close tomorrow, August 6, for expansion and refurbishment and is due to reopen in the autumn as a Tesco Express.

It will be the culmination of a wait of eight years for a Tesco Express to open in the village after the supermarket giants took over the One-Stop Shop in October 2002.

At that time there were fears that Tesco would close the store, particularly if it was not possible to expand its size so it could become a Tesco Express.

Years of negotiation then followed which included finding suitable replacement premises for the adjoining Railway Video Company so the store could be expanded.

Legal wranglings led to more delays and residents became increasingly sceptical about whether or not they would get their larger village store. But a new delivery lorry pull-in has now been created and with the closure of the One Stop Shop, a new Tesco Express should be open by early autumn.

District councillor for the village, Cllr Chris Oxley, said: “It has been a long and complex exercise to ensure we have a Tesco Express but it is worth the delay now that a positive outcome is in sight and we can have a new shop that will serve a much wider range of grocery and other goods at prices that are nearer to what the elderly and less well-off residents can afford.

Most Read

“Not only will residents be able to shop locally but I expect that our other traders – the pharmacy, the post office, the superb butcher and baker and ladies hairdressers as well as restaurants and tea rooms – will all benefit from the increased footfall which can flow from the parents of children at the Junior House of St Albans High School for Girls that is also based in the village and others who currently go to different locations to do their shopping.”

He thanked Wheathampstead Enterprise for Business for its help both with the store and encouraging walkers and tourists to spend more time in the village.

n Elderly or disabled residents in the village who need help with their shopping during the closure period should contact the Wheathampstead Community Group on 01582 833186. Throughout the duration of the closure, they are prepared to organise shopping for people who are unable to go and do it themselves.

In addition, the Wednesday morning bus from the village to Somerfield in Harpenden will continue. It leaves the Hilldyke Centre at 10am, calling at Four Limes, Brocket View, the High Street and Luton Road before going on to Somerfield. It returns at 11.30am, dropping people off at their homes.