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The Village Bakery in Combe Martin in danger of closing its doors

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 20, 2012

By FRANCESCA TAFFS

STRUGGLING: The Village Bakery, Combe Martin, is in danger of closing due to lack of trade.

STRUGGLING: The Village Bakery, Combe Martin, is in danger of closing due to lack of trade.

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IT could be a gloomy Christmas for one Combe Martin business if its trade does not pick up.

The Village Bakery has been run by Keith Palmer for the last eight years but is in danger of shutting down.

This would result in Keith losing his home in the village and having to move away from the area.

The four staff he employs would also lose their jobs.

Keith believes the business is going the same way as a lot of others in the area and says more needs to be done to stop shops such as his from suffering a similar fate.

He said the increase in people doing their food shopping online has drawn people away from local shops.

Parking meters installed on the street outside the shop has also put people off coming into the bakery, says Keith.

"A lot of it is since they put the meters in the High Street so people won't stop," he said. "People cannot be bothered if they have to stop there just to come in for a loaf of bread.

"We have had a bad summer with the Olympics and the rubbish weather.

"All the businesses in Combe Martin are struggling. It is a knock on effect made worse by the rise of internet shopping.

Keith has gone without pay for the last month. He believes more needs to be done by the parish council to support local businesses.

"You only have to look up the High Street to see how many houses are there that used to be shops. The village is more or less closed down.

"You would think the parish council would try doing something to drive the business in.

"All they are worried about is dog poo and whether the chairman wears their chains.

"If they don't get something happening in the village it is going to die."

Carol Holness, also known by her singer/songwriter name Nancy Nova, lives in Combe Martin and is a regular visitor to Keith's bakery.

She thinks more people need to support local shops to ensure their survival.

"We need to work together and not be swallowed up by the big places. It is sad, especially for a place like Combe Martin which has a lovely seaside.

"There is nothing better than going down the road and getting bread baked by your local bakery rather than something wrapped up in plastic from God knows where.

"I do a lot of travelling and when I am going away for a while I make my sandwiches with Keith's bread because I know it will last a few days."

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  • seventeenpies  |  December 23 2012, 7:14PM

    I think it's an absolute shame and a tragedy that people are succumbing to the conglomerate monster that is the local super marché. Yes! let's all pull together and keep this village alive. The local amenities are what made this village what it is. Best of luck Keith; I for one am I a regular customer who rates your bread well above that of any other local substitute. All the best, Nigel

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  • seventeenpies  |  December 23 2012, 7:14PM

    I think it's an absolute shame and a tragedy that people are succumbing to the conglomerate monster that is the local super marché. Yes! let's all pull together and keep this village alive. The local amenities are what made this village what it is. Best of luck Keith; I for one am I a regular customer who rates your bread well above that of any other local substitute. All the best, Nigel

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  • A_villager  |  December 20 2012, 7:03PM

    "He said the increase in people doing their food shopping online has drawn people away from local shops." Where does Mr Palmer shop? Not in any of the village grocery stores so if he doesnt support them how can he expect support? "Keith has gone without pay for the last month" Interesting then that Mr Palmer can still afford to spend half his spare time in the pub. "The four staff he employs would also lose their jobs" Well, If Mr Palmer spent less time and money in the pub, and put in more hours in his shop then maybe he would take more money and spend out less on wages. "Parking meters installed on the street outside the shop has also put people off coming into the bakery, says Keith." TRUE - the parking meters are a bain of most villagers in some way or other, seemingly the local councils way of screwing every last penny out of local residents. Truly ridiculous situation. ""You only have to look up the High Street to see how many houses are there that used to be shops. The village is more or less closed down." It's been like that out here for years as with many other small villages, so it raises the question of why you chose to open a business here? Do you research properly did you? Mr Palmer's bakery is undecorated at this seasonal time of year and his pasties for instance are not his, they are bought in. What does he expect i ask?

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