Lowick Village Store will close at the end of this month, and there is no news about what will follow. At the moment, there will be no shop in the village from October, and Lowick, which once had many, will join the countless villages in the UK who have no shop at all.
The only good news is the continued delivery of prescriptions, thanks to the generosity of Bookless Motors.
The Parish Council has attempted to find out from the owner of the property – Michael McGuigan, who is CEO of a chain of pubs in Edinburgh – what he intends to do once the Blakes have left. It has received no answer. Mr McGuigan purchased the shop from a previous owner, who we believe was a friend of his.
He has not responded to the Blakes either, even though they have passed on the names of interested parties to him. They were hopeful that there was an opportunity for them to pass the business on – but sadly that seems to have passed. Mr McGuigan has had the property “surveyed” by a specialist Retail Estate Agent, but it has not been put on the market. Perhaps a deal is in the offing, but there is little to suggest this is true.
Meanwhile, Karen & Richie continue to prepare to leave for their new lives in Bowsden, and they are restricting their future orders of stock to items they will take away with them, for their own use afterwards.
The PC have applied to the County Council for a “Community Right to Bid”, should the property come on the market. It has done this to allow members of the community who wish to join together to form a partnership the opportunity to do so. If you are interested in becoming a member, or a donor to such a bid, please let us know. We understand the Glendale Gateway Trust has expressed an interest in providing financial and/or practical support for this.
It is also applying to have the shop declared an “Asset of Community Value”, which is designed if successful, to prevent the building being converted into housing by the present owner.
If these approaches fail, and the present shop has an uncertain future as a shop, what else can be done?
Are there other properties in the village which appear to have no present function, which could be temporarily or permanently the shop’s home? Looking around the village there do appear to be such places, if the owners were willing. Are there people in our district who would be keen to work in, manage or own a business in the village, if premises could be provided?
These are all subjects for discussion, and they will be raised by the Parish Council at its next meeting. Please let us know your ideas and whether you would be keen to help us save a shop for Lowick and Bowsden.
You could start by filling in this simple form, and sending it in