A community cooperative responding to the closure of a their local shop with a proposal for a new premises focused on local food.

Established in 2007, the Llanmadoc community shop was the response of a small community on the Gower peninsula to the closure of its last shop ten years ago.  The community founded a not-for-profit cooperative to run a local shop, providing a wide range of fresh goods, groceries, frozen and chilled goods, an off license, a post office and a bakery.  Produce is sourced locally to support the local economy and retain income in the area.  Out of 250 village residents, approximately 150 are cooperative members.  Many members are also volunteers at the shop which also acts as a community hub, particularly for retired members of the community.  The shop has faced major challenges, not least of all with its existing premises which has led to a project to build a new facility in the village.

 Design Research Unit Wales worked with the cooperative, many of whom financially supporting the project, to develop a cost effective design for a 100m2 single storey building with a very tight budget.  Although the building is only small, its impact in the village would be substantial; extensive consultation was carried out during the design stages with local people to ensure the views of all members of the cooperative ad others in the village were heard.  The building is designed to make best use of its site, including views over the estuary, be low energy and to use local materials to fit into its context. 

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AuthorAmanda Spence