Row over future of ‘forgotten’ store

Cllr Peter O'Brien with residents outside the Country Choices store in Grindleford which is up for sale
Cllr Peter O'Brien with residents outside the Country Choices store in Grindleford which is up for sale
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A row over the future of a village shop has broken out after a council was accused of ‘forgetting’ to inform the community it was up for sale.

Residents in Grindleford, Derbyshire, worked with the parish council to have the former Country’s Choice shop listed as an asset of community value.

But Derbyshire Dales District Council has apologised for not publishing the dates of a six month moratorium – which prevents the owner of an asset from selling when there has been an expression of interest from a community group – on its website.

The parish council has now asked for district councillors to discuss the matter at their next meeting.

Coun Peter O’Brien, a Grindleford parish councillor, said: “We wanted the shop to be a community asset and leave open the option of it being turned back into a community store – we didn’t want to lose it.

“When we did find out the owner intended to sell someone called the council in Matlock and they were told the council had ‘forgot’ to do anything about it.”

The shop has been closed since 2011.

Under The Community Right to Bid initiative, residents have up to six months to prepare a bid when an asset is offered for sale butt does not mean the owner is obligated to sell to them.

A district council spokesman said they had not ‘forgot’ but added: “Regrettably, we did not publish the moratorium dates on our website and we sincerely apologise that this was overlooked.

“The moratorium period expired on July 21 and a potential interest in the property received by the district council was passed on to the commercial property agents.”