EXCLUSIVE: New life for former Forest butchers
By Simon Hacker | 19th September 2023
A landmark business on Newent's Broad Street that saw retail continuity as a butchers for more than 100 years could get a fresh identity as a pizza takeaway.
Forest of Dean planners have been asked to approve the resurrection of the former business after a bid was made for the new venture from Ms Michelle Celik of Ledbury, outline details suggesting that two jobs would be created if the plan were approved. The request is for the takeaway to trade from midday until 11pm, seven days a week.
Amid claims that the cost of living crisis had strangled trade, The Artisan Butchery, at 37 Broad Street, closed more than a year ago. Butcher Damien Berry, who had taken over the business from retiring trader Andy Creese, initially injected new ideas to the shop's retail offer with home-cooked ready meals and artisan meat products. But the pandemic took a heavy toll.
In its aftermath, Mr Berry told customers: "It is with regret that we've taken the difficult decision to close the business with immediate effect. The downturn in footfall post covid and horrific increases in energy and fuel costs has meant that it's no longer viable for us to continue trading."
Julia Gooch, then chair of the Forest of Dean District Council and the owner of Gooch Sports and Leisure in Church Street, a school uniform business that has traded for 38 years, reacted to the closure with sadness.
She said at the time: "First we lost the banks, which gave people a reason to come into town, and then Covid came along. People are shopping differently and the high street is becoming a place to meet up. But although it's sad it's important to remember that it's not all doom and gloom and there are still some positives."
Linda Morris, who runs Manna Creative Gifts, including a coffee shop and café, on Broad Street, said that the change of use could well be a smart move for the town's retail offer.
She said: "The main challenge we are facing now is footfall. We need to bring people in from the new housing that surrounds us and connect people to the idea that this is a social experience. Newent has lovely little eateries and clothing shops; it's a delightful place."
● A date is yet to be known for a decision, but in a consultation on the takeaway proposal, Richard Jefferies, principal development co-ordinator for Gloucestershire Highways, told Forest planners: "there would not be an unacceptable impact on Highway Safety or a severe impact on congestion. There are no justifiable grounds on which an objection could be maintained."
Copyright 2023 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.