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Save Our Shop

Notes from the Public Meeting on Saturday 16 December 2017

The meeting took the form of an informal gathering to inform the community of the progress that is being made by the ‘Save our Shop Campaign’. It took the form of a presentation followed by questions from the audience. The presentation was given by Michael Husband and Steve Antczak, Chairman and Secretary of the village hall committee.

The village shop is still on the market. The SOS East Boldre team considered a number of options to start a community shop and Post Office but met with little success. They considered buying the current shop and enlarging the shop area but it would still be too small for a viable community shop. The idea to relocate the shop to the old Social Club in Strawberry Fields was rejected by the Beaulieu Estate. With few options left, the SOS team joined forces with the village hall team and, with the design skills of Guy McNair-Wilson, came up with the following project.

It is important to say at this stage, that Ian Evans, the current shop owner, fully supports this project and the village hall team are fully aware of all of the obstacles that must be overcome to bring this idea to fruition.

The village hall team fully support this project because it will guarantee the survival of the hall into the future. It is no secret that many village halls are losing rental income because many of the traditional activities such as bridge clubs, whist drives, luncheon clubs, music clubs, etc., are disappearing as the population ages. For some years now, our hall has not generated sufficient rental income to cover its running costs. We had to supplement our income by holding major events and exhibitions, and by writing and selling our book, ‘From Forest Field to Western Front’.

This page was last updated on

21 May 2018

Target Achieved

With some cash and cheques, and Gift Aid on the donations, we have reached our target and raised about £5,700 to cover planning cost, consultants etc.

We are now pressing ahead with the Community Hub Project.

Can You Help?

If you can help us in any way, please get in touch with by using our Contact Page or by phoning Mike Husband on 01590 611073 or Steve Antczak on 01590 626368

Visit this page often to get the latest updates on the progress of the ‘Save Our Shop’ campaign

During the 1960s and again in the 1980s, flat roof extensions were added to the hall with little regard to the historical significance of the old WW1 Officers’ Mess. Much of this space is not used efficiently, for example, the changing rooms occupy over 500 square feet but are used for as little as twenty hours a year. The football club has not used them at all in the last two years. The village hall team have to maintain the changing rooms despite them not generating any income for the hall.

All flat roof extensions will be removed. New, pitched roof extensions will be added front and rear.

The rear extension will allow additional floor space or seating space in the main hall.

The front extension will accommodate toilets and changing facilities for the theatre and sports clubs.

A new building will be added behind the hall. The ground floor will be leased to the community shop group, generating much needed revenue for the hall. Moveable shelving units will allow the shop to occupy the entire ground floor when it is open. When the shop is closed, the shelving units can be moved into the shop area and partitioned off, allowing the space to be used for activities and functions. The ground floor can also accommodate a Post Office and a cafe.

The first floor can be used for exhibitions and can house a permanent exhibition of historical artefacts and photographs.

The two buildings will be joined by an umbilical which will act as the main entrance to the village hall and house a lift to the first floor.

This is the view from the north. It shows the west wall of the Officers’ Mess has been restored to its former glory. During the 1960s, most of this wall was knocked down to give access to the flat roof extensions.

It is important to stress that the new building will not be higher than the old Officers’ Mess.

The ‘Nissan hut’ shape was conceived to remind us of the historical origins of the building. When the Officers’ Mess was built in 1917/1918, it was joined by a short umbilical to the YMCA which was a large Nissan hut which stood between the hall and the road.

When it was built, the Officers’ Mess had a large, shed-like extension at the back. This is why the north wall of the hall looks nothing like the other walls. This project will restore this extension, albeit, by a smaller one.

In addition, the car park could be used as a pick-up point for the South Baddesley School mini-bus. This will be safer for the children and cause less congestion on Main Road.

The great thing about this plan is that it will not take up any more space than the original flat roof extensions so no grazing will be lost. If the parking bay opposite the current shop is no longer needed, some of this could be returned to grazing.

Design and artwork by Guy McNair-Wilson

The meeting was concluded with a question and answer session.

Questions from the floor


Cost and Fundraising?

£300,000 - £500,000

Heritage Lottery Fund, Plunket Foundation, local wealthy people, Shares, Buy-a-brick, etc.

Will there be a Shop and Post Office?

Yes. Ian might want to run the PO.

Part-time workers. Is there enough floor space?

Floor space will be much the same as at WoodGreen which is about 1,000 sq.ft. Shelves could be on wheels for flexibility. Might be able to generate jobs.

What about alternative sites?

Strawberry Fields site has been ruled out by Beaulieu Estate. Furthermore, that site would not be close enough to the centre. Village Hall would be ideal.


Ideally, within 2-3 years. Agree we need to raise quite a bit of cash.


The present area has been eroded by grass encroachment and is larger than it appears. There would need to be a management plan for large events.

What if Ian sells up quickly?

Please see his recent newsletter. We would be creating the space and would then have to grant licences/leases for other purposes such as shop, PO, cafe, etc. We shall need lots of people from the village with various skills to come and help.

What about the original shop initiative ?

The original SOS team were just trying to get it going and it has now been taken over by the Village Hall. There will be another briefing in January.We cannot put in plans until we have consulted Forestry Commission, Natural England and the New Forest Verderers

We must stress that what follows is very much an artists impression of what might be possible. It is a bold scheme and will only work if the local community support us.

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