A pub in Funtington has come up with an enterprising idea which could give villagers a place to shop once again.
The village’s popular convenience shop The Country Fare closed down before Christmas, leaving residents unable to get their groceries.
But the landlords at the Fox and Hounds pub think they have the answer.
They have applied for planning permission to convert the flint barn at the side of their premises into a new shop, which would sell all the daily essentials, as well as being home to a Post Office if all goes to plan.
Louise Genrey, 28, and her partner, Oz Watson, 39, took over the pub two years ago after previously working at the Hole in the Wall in Chichester.
And they have made great strides, overseeing a refurbishment, a change of menu, and enticing new customers by opening for breakfast, which is where the idea for the shop started.
“It started because we were opening up for breakfast and we thought, why don’t we get some newspapers on a stand to sell?” said Miss Genrey.
“There are a lot of people that don’t want to go to Bosham or Westbourne to get their newspapers.”
She said they would like to add the Post Office into the shop if they get the go-ahead.
“It brings more people in and people need facilities like that,” she said. “People like to be able to draw their pensions.
“A lot of people have got behind us; the parish council have been very supportive of us which is wonderful.”
If the application is successful, she is hoping building work will start straight away, and the shop could be open by early summer.
Funtington Parish Councillor Joe Hepworth said it was an excellent idea.
“The parish is quite souless without the shop,” he said.
“It was the centre of all things going on, it would be nice to have the heart put back into the village again.
“We get 7,000 cars going past that site every day, which is a lot; it’s the run through, and all the villagers to the north of the South Downs come through and they have got nowhere to go.
“I think it’s an excellent idea.”
For more information about the pub visit www.foxandhoundsfuntington.co.uk
n Anyone wishing to comment on the planning application should write to Chichester District Council, while quoting to application number 11/05123/LBCNP.