Britain's Rudest Shop is Closing

Britain’s Rudest Shop is Closing

So the self-proclaimed rudest shop in Britain is finally to close: After 170 years, only a few weeks left to be insulted, don’t miss the experience!

Whilst I won’t argue with their bold statement, what happens to this shop next seems to be getting lots of Lymington folk (and non-Lymington folk) very worked up; there’s more to this than just another empty unit – not that it’ll be empty for long, of course.

Over the last few years Lymington has become something of a hotbed of media attention. Here’s some recent history.

Lymington v Argos

Ever since the: Snooty Sailing Town Snubs Argos and the Mirror’s: Too Posh for Argos headlines appeared in 2006 (when a small ladies’ boutique shop started a petition against the catalogue shop’s possible arrival for which her shop was rewarded with an egg-pelting frenzy), every planning refusal has been fair game for the press.

Lymington v 99p Store

The next incident involved the 99p Stores that were filling the gaping voids left by Woolworths in 2009. This time attention focused on the gaudy sign stuck to the building. Now it was the turn of the Telegraph to dredge up the ghost of Argos with the headline: ‘Too posh’ Lymington rejects 99p shop’s ‘gaudy’ sign, focusing on a comment about the sign being ‘inappropriate and extremely gaudy’ made by a local Councillor. Subsequently the sign was replaced by a competition-winning entry that is arguably worse… but that’s a matter of opinion.

What next for poor old Lymington? Enter J.D. Wetherspoon.

Lymington v J.D. Wetherspoon

In 2010 the cut-price pub chain put in an application to change the use of the C.Ford & Co unit (now Palfrey & Kemp – they never removed the old sign) from shop to public house. You can see the diligently-kept chronology of events at the website of Lymington’s moral guardian, the Lymington Society. The society and many of Lymington’s residents were pitted against a slightly more vocal group of would-be/might-be Wetherspoons drinkers/workers. In the end the planners agreed with the latter group – and the Daily Echo proclaimed that Lymington’s not too posh for a Wetherspoon’s pub after all! Hoorah!

C.Ford & Co a.k.a. Palfrey & Kemp, 2012

C.Ford & Co a.k.a. Palfrey & Kemp, 2012. Note the church buttress on the right.

But hang on – doesn’t that mean that they’re going to plop a big cheap pub in between an old people’s home and a 13th century church? Yup! You’ve gotta love those planners!

I’ll leave you with the thoughts of the pro-Weatherspoon campaigner. As triumphant low-cost-beer campaigner Emma Head pointed out, “Kids need something to do in this town… Kids go to shops in the town and buy cheap alcohol and go and sit on benches in the graveyard, drink and cause a nuisance“. Well, I’m with her on this. Let’s move them into a pub next to the graveyard instead. Let the landlord worry about the niggling under-age drinking issues instead of the Vicar. Out of sight, out of mind!

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