Residents who packed out a hastily arranged meeting on Friday were united in their message: High Salvington’s only village shop should remain.
News that the freehold of the village shop in Salvington Hill, Worthing, is due to be sold at an auction on Wednesday has sparked fears that the site could be redeveloped.
Mary Meadows, chairman of the High Salvington Residents’ Association, said around 250 residents came along to discuss the situation at St Michael’s Church Hall.
She said: “Feelings among the residents in attendance were running extremely high about the potential loss of the shop.
“The residents are united in their opinions that their only shop, together with Post Office, should remain.”
Mrs Meadows said the shop was a ‘community asset’ which was relied upon by many people, especially elderly residents.
The residents’ association is collecting funds in order to purchase the freehold collectively. Many residents have already contributed and Mrs Meadows said they had been ‘very generous’.
It was with a round of applause that residents at the meeting agreed, if their bid is successful, that the current leaseholder of the shop, Vino Vinojan, should be kept on.
Mr Vinojan, who has run the shop for around 15 years, said: “I’m overwhelmed, the support from residents is touching. It’s a community hub really.”
He added that it was the third time the freehold of the shop had been sold in just a few months.
Residents also hope to keep the current leaseholder of the hairdressers.
The freehold is listed on www.rightmove.co.uk at a guide price of £275,000 to £300,000.
The listing notes ‘the potential for significant re-development’ of the site.
Any residents who wish to contribute to the purchase of the land should get in touch with the residents’ association.