AN EPIC effort which has seen one community raise £300,000 to save their village shop now faces just one final hurdle.

The launch of the Winsham village shop’s ‘Save Our Store’ appeal feature don the front of the News last year, and less than 12 months later the committee is on the brink of success.

After raising nearly £300,000 in pledges and 250 signatures on a petition in support, the final obstacle is planning permission from the district council.

In 2016, Winsham community shop and post office recorded a loss, forcing villagers to accept it was not sustainable.

Plans were drawn up to take over a new premises and after the committee’s first option fell through, The George became available.

The new Grade-II Listed site will feature an additional cafe and first floor flat to provide more income for the shop, as well as retaining the full post office and shop facilities.

Rita Miller, from the Winsham Shop Management Committee, said: “This place means more than just a shop.

“It is the hub of the village, for simple things like we can keep track of the elderly. We know if they have been in or if someone should go and see them.

“Without the shop, you will see the other facilities start to go as well, and we will just become some houses that people drive past.”

The shop and one pub are the only survivors, with some villagers able to remember two general stores, a butchers, bakery, a hardware shop, three pubs and two garages.

The new village hub will also feature new post office facilities including banking, thanks in part to a £10,000 grant from Post Office Ltd.

Mrs Miller added: “If approved then it is full steam ahead.

“We will purchase The George, the target is all raised, it is just a case of getting the planning consent and then it is all systems go.”

Planning applications have been submitted for a change of use of the listed building from residential back to commercial and to put a sign up outside using the old font from The George pub.

She said: “We put the application in on May 28, but we have been trying to get this in since before Christmas.

“It was pretty amazing how most of the money came almost immediately.”