‘It’s an embarrassment to the village’: Anger at lack of repairs to Steeple Claydon Co-Op following ram raid last year

Steeple Claydon resident, Dennis Gotts, has written to the Co-op CEO about the closed cashpoint, following a ram-raid
Steeple Claydon resident, Dennis Gotts, has written to the Co-op CEO about the closed cashpoint, following a ram-raid

A regular customer at the Steeple Claydon branch of the Co-Op has written to the company’s CEO in an effort to get answers over the lack of repairs to the store following a ram raid last summer.

Dennis Gotts says he feels the front of the store ‘looks awful’ and has become an ‘embarrassment’ to the village.

Thieves used a digger in August 2016 to ram-raid the front of the store.

They made off with the ATM and the store was forced to shut for three days while work to make the shop safe took place.

Mr Gotts said: “The exterior of the store was boarded up and painted over almost immediately after the robbery.

“In addition security fencing was put in place but nine months on it looks tatty and very careworn.

“In addition the interior of the store was damaged meaning there was no in-store bakery facility while other shop services were affected.”

The untidy appearance of the store’s frontage led to Steeple Claydon Parish Council deciding not to enter the Bucks Best Kept Village competition this year.

Mr Gotts added: “The parish council took the decision not to enter the competition this year on the basis that the store, which is at the centre of the village, was an eyesore and it would have been embarrassing to draw the judges attention to it.”

Mr Gotts met with the Co-Op regional manager and the store manager who outlined plans for a refurbishment which was due to begin in early May.

Mr Gotts added: “The manager and staff have felt equally frustrated and despite the disruption have coped well.”

A spokesperson for the Co-op said: “As a community retailer we are committed to serving the community and contributing to local life.

“An eight week programme of works is expected to start before the end of this month in order to repair the affected areas, and make improvements to the store.

“We are very sorry for the delay.

“We want the Co-Op store to be an asset for the community so we are in talks with members of the community to see how we can further support village life.”