Stockland Stores – plans for the new community run shop

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I enjoyed attending the Stockland Stores meeting last night but was disappointed to find out they don’t have plans to incorporate renewable energy into the new community run village shop and adjoining cafe. As they are building this shop from scratch – surely the plans should include using 100% renewables to create the energy needed for lights, refrigeration, heating, cooking, tills, hot water etc.

I was hoping that renewable energy would be highlighted in the presentation but it was not. I was expecting it to be one of the founding principles when the chair was presenting the ‘key points’ – but it wasn’t. I spoke to the architect afterwards, and he was pretty vague about a possible PV (photo voltaic) panel to heat the hot water and mentioned some kind of heat regulating vents, which he said was “very green”.

I didn’t feel he was really listening to me though when I explained that this ‘new build’ was an ideal opportunity to be as green as possible and incorporate renewable energy into the plans. He didn’t think solar panels would work as there were too many trees and not enough roof space. But they had not sought any expert advice on the matter. I suggested they contact DARE (Devon Association for Renewable Energy). and I will contact DARE to see if they can help encourage this project (in my local community) to be as green as possible. There really is no reason why it can’t be, especially with all the funding out there for these kinds of community led projects.

10291295-diy-solar-panelA great local example of community resources using renewable energy is my son’s pre-school up the road in Upottery with a roof covered in photo-voltaic panels. One of the best parts of the committee meetings I attend is when the treasurer reports on how much money they’ve made putting energy back into the national grid!

On a more positive note – the shop will be using locally produced food and other products – and there were several local retailers displaying their fabulous foods etc at the open evening last night. The shop and cafe will be a meeting place for the local community and I checked that the wood this timber building would be constructed from is from sustainable local sources, and was assured that would be the case.

Stockland village is about a mile and a half from my home, it’s near Honiton and Axminster in Devon. Surrounding villages and hamlets which would benefit from the shop are Longbridge, Millhayes, Cotleigh, Dalwood, Furley, Yarcombe, Upottery and Membury (although Membury has their own village shop, which they are trying to bring under community management). There was a speaker there last night from The Plunkett Foundation which supports community enterprises such as this and the manager of a successful community shop in Plymtree, who came to share his experiences.

What do you think about this project? We’d love to hear your comments below….

3 Replies to “Stockland Stores – plans for the new community run shop”

  1. A community shop is a superb idea, and as you say Sharon an ideal opportunity to add energy efficient measures and renewable energy solutions, where possible. It of course makes both financial and environmental sense to think of energy efficiency and sources of energy at the beginning of the build. It will need the steering committee to push for this from the architect. Devon Association for Renewable Energy ( DARE) can of course help.

    There are numerous local examples of renewable energy in the community.

    EG The Branscombe village hall have recently installed a ground source heat pump and a solar pv panel array to supply the electricity needed. See
    http://www.branscombevillagehall.org/page12.html

    Seaton Primary School is an excellent local example http://www.seatonprimary.co.uk/PageEnergyResources.html

    As many people are aware a good return can be made due to the government’s new initiative of Feed in Tariffs. Installing both energy efficient measures and renewable energy technologies really is a no brainer at the moment!

    This is a good example of a community shop in East London http://www.hornbeam.org.uk
    Together with an associated local food coop…. http://www.organiclea.org.uk

  2. The “greenness” of the build and running of the proposed store is crucial and you were right to highlight this at the meeting, Sharon.

    Other suggestions I have are to do with the goods offered for sale. I would hope that items chosen would have a minimum of wrapping and be produced by companies that had ethical standards – Nestle and Proctor and Gamble would be excluded for instance. Plastic bags should not be offered at the point of sale and customers encouraged to bring their own containers and recycle cartons, including egg boxes, back to the shop. A bin could be provided close to the entrance to educate children (and their parents!) about
    responsible disposal of litter.

    An outlandish idea, although not necessarily idiotic, would be to have a static bicycle on the premises linked in to generate electricity at the same time as giving folk a workout…

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