The George   George AI
From this.... to this?

What happens next to Winsham Shop & Post Office now depends on  planning approval by SSDC. The lengthy process is now drawing towards its conclusion. See the latest update below-scroll down for earlier updates




The George Update 12th October, 2018 

We are pleased to report that we have some good news and are now in a position to move forwards with The George application after a difficult situation which was out of our control.

Apologies that it is over 8 weeks since our last e:letter update. However, in that time we have unfortunately been in limbo, as despite our - and the owner of The George's - best efforts we have been unable to gain access to The George to enable our experts  to produce our revised change of use application and provide further information requested by SSDC.

The good news for us is that the tenants, whose tenancy actually ended at the end of July, finally moved out in this last week.  

 We are now full steam ahead and hope to get the revised application in by early November for the planning officer to make an initial recommendation. 

 If anyone has any questions please contact us on

 Winsham Shop Management Committee 

The George Update 24
th August, 2018

On the 10th August we succeeded in meeting with SSDC's Planning officer and Conservation officer on site at The George and we now have more clarity on what we need to do to progress to a successful conclusion.

We are still several weeks away from a final recommendation, but as a result of this meeting we are confident of ultimate success with the changes below.

In short, we are proposing a simplified application with minimum alterations to the building in order to get change of use . This will involve modifications to the Post Office layout and the withdrawal  of our application for offices on the first floor

 Please be aware that the planning officer's recommendation is the first step of approval and it would be great if this happens. However, in the event that the planning officer does not recommend it, that is not the end of it .  

The recommendation would then go to our local councillors with three opportunities for them to approve depending on the case and issues involved.

In the first instance the case would go to the Area West planning representative, then secondly to the Chairperson of Area West planning Committee and ultimately to a Planning committee meeting made up of elected local councillors .  

If this case goes to planning committee we can all attend this meeting and show our support . 

As you are aware, the vast majority of our community is supportive of this change, as demonstrated by huge amount of letters of support to South Somerset District Council and the overwhelming support of Winsham Parish Council .  

Thank you for your continued support and patience.   We are positive that a conclusion can be reached shortly.  

If you have any questions please let us know on  

Winsham Shop Management Committee 

The George Update 27th July, 2018

We are getting to final stages of our change of use application. With the site visit to The George planned for w/c 6th August with Mike Hicks ,the planning officer and the delivery of the expert building report to be provided by  a specialist company, which has been recently requested by SSDC.

 Following this meeting with Mike Hicks we would expect to have a recommendation by the planning officer to grant change of use or not, within a short period of time. 

If successful we would look to purchase The George swiftly. At the point of purchase the share offer still currently open to investors to be able to share in potential tax benefits from Social Investment tax relief ,will close. Please contact us if you are interested in acquiring a share prospectus and are keen to invest.  

 We have read everyone of the contributions to SSDC (over 177 posted to date) regarding our change of use application and have worked hard to address any valid objections that we can influence. As a result of this we have addressed the issue raised of extra parking associated with the Commercial rental of the upstairs space by sending the below letter to Mike Hicks ,which is now posted on the SSDC website  


Letter to Mike Hicks Posted on SSDC Web site 25th July Contributor ref:8577511

Additional information from applicant

Case : 18/00001/FUL, Full ApplicationThe George, Back Street, Winsham, Chard, Somerset, TA20 4ED

Use of upstairs space in The George and Impact on parking 18/00001/FUL, 18/00002/LBC & 18/01705/ADV

 As you are aware our aim is to maximise our community shop's income from The George through commercial rental of the upper floor. Our present change of use application refers to office classification (5 rooms) for this upstairs space. We fully recognise the implication that this could mean a number of extra cars requiring parking, as has been highlighted by some objectors to our application.

 Our intention was to gain flexibility for the use of this space in future by renting to tenants who will enhance the life of the village.

 We do not yet know what tenants we will be able to attract for the upstairs space and we would be selective in those that we choose. We do, however, want to state that we do not wish additional car parking to be an issue and therefore commit that any commercial tenants will be accommodated by private parking around the village.

 We are happy that any application for change of use for this upstairs space is conditional on a private parking arrangement for any commercial tenants being in place.

 As we have stated before we do not believe that the addition of a cafe will bring extra traffic to the village. We already benefit from passing trade, walkers and cyclists and it is these people and our existing customers from the village who we believe will generate additional turnover for Winsham Community Shop through the benefit of having a community cafe and meeting place.

 If any one has any further questions please email:

 Winsham Shop Management Committee 




The George Update 13th July 2018 

Thank you Winsham

We wanted to share the great news that as of 9/7/18  that there have been a massive 168 letters posted on SSDC website and over 91% of these were overwhelmingly in favour of our shop and Post Office moving to The George and supporting change of use application.

Please be aware for those who have not yet written to SSDC that its not too late, as SSDC are still accepting contributions up to decision being made .PLEASE WRITE NOW as every voice counts.Please also be aware this is not a done deal and there is opposition from a small minority of people.

When you write -remember to quote reference numbers and your name and address to

Please be aware that we taking note of all letters of objection and are working hard to deal with any valid points that have been raised where we can. 

Date of Decision 

The original date for SSDC to make a recommendation regarding our planning application was the 19th July . However, due to issues of access to do a site visit this will be delayed ,which is why contributions are still being accepted by SSDC past the original deadline on 26th June .

The current tenants of The George are scheduled to move out at the end of July and the site visit will be planned in ASAP after this . SSDC will then confirm a revised date for a decision, likely to be Mid to End August 

 If anyone has any questions please let us know on

Winsham Shop Management Committee 

The George Update 7th June 2018 

Thank you to all of you who demonstrated your support by attending Wednesday's Winsham Parish Council Meeting and writing letters/emails to the parish clerk. It was great to see a packed Jubilee Hall, full of so many supporters. 

We are pleased to share the great news that Winsham Parish Council unanimously backed our application. This is a great endorsement, but the Parish Council is not the decision maker, and we still need to influence South Somerset District Council. Every letter of individual support counts  

 If you have not already done so, please send letters of support to Mike Hicks, Planning Office, South Somerset District Council , Development Management Council Offices, Brympton Way, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 2HT ASAP or email:

The letter of support needs to quote each of the three reference numbers which cover change of Use, Conservation and signage:

  • 18/00001/FUL
  • 18/00002/LBC 
  • 18/01705/ADV

It is key that you say why you believe it is important that this application is granted ,what it means to you and the village and particularly your thoughts on issues raised regarding highways (Road safety and parking) as these are areas that the few who are opposing the application are focused on.

Our view is that the highways issues are no worse than the existing situation. In addition, in our application we have argued that due to the fact that Back St has significantly less traffic than Church Street and because of the many deliveries we receive (a minimum of over 30 deliveries a week plus Post Office pick ups) then Back St in front of The George will create a safer drop off and a better road safety environment for all 

Road safety is key to all of us and we have addressed all issues raised regarding highways as part of our design & access statement which is now available on SSDC website as part of our application, together with our traffic survey of the area which provides evidence for our arguments. Please take a look at documents 8537337 & 8537340. Click HERE for our Guide to SSDC Planning WebPages for 'The George Project'.

Thank you to those of you who already got their letters into South Somerset District Council. It is very much appreciated and makes a difference

This this move is not a done deal, and without it there is serious risk that we will lose our shop & Post Office in Winsham as we have explored all other potential avenues . This outcome would be a major loss for us all, but particularly for those dependent on it and would have a devastating impact on our village life. 

It is your Shop & Post Office, owned and run by our community , please do what you can to support if you want it to have a future 

 Winsham Shop Management Committee   

The George Update 1st June 2018

We are delighted to share the good news that the validation of our application for Change of Use for The George, to become the new location for Winsham Shop & Post office, has finally been accepted on 24/5/18 by South Somerset District Council. This means they have all the information that they need to progress - it is not yet approval, but the start of an 8 week process to reach a decision.

We now need your help to show your support for this application to SSDC, as the more support is shown, the more likely it will be to succeed. Please do not assume it is a done deal.

 Firstly, Winsham Parish Council will be discussing this application at their monthly meeting, on Wednesday 6th June at 7pm in the Jubilee Hall. The Parish council have initially supported this move, but showing them your support will give them the confidence to potentially endorse the application on behalf of the whole village.

 Please show your support by attending this meeting, and if you are unable to attend you can email support ahead of the meeting to the Winsham Parish clerk  

 Secondly, we need you to write letters of support to Mike Hicks, Planning Office, South Somerset District Council, Development Management Council Offices, Brympton Way, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 2HT at as soon as you can, as consultation only lasts a couple of weeks. 

 The letter of support needs to quote each of the 3 reference numbers which cover change of Use, Conservation and signage:

  • 18/00001/FUL
  • 18/00002/LBC 
  • 18/01705/ADV

It is key that you  say why you believe it is important that this application is granted and what it means to you and the village. 

 Each letter of support, or otherwise, will be taken into account as part of review process together with the Planning Officer's report . 

 Any questions please let us know via email:

 Winsham Shop Management Committee

6th April 2018

The George - Change of Use Application

We wanted to let you know that all is progressing with our change of use application to South Somerset District Council to enable The George to become the new location for Winsham Shop & Post Office, but unfortunately it  is much slower and more challenging than we would like or anticipated, despite a huge amount of work going on to push this forwards.

 This is particularly the case as it has come to light that we are actually involved in 3 individual applications which will cost over £600 in combined application fees to our District council which include : 

  • Change of Use 
  • Advertising (outside signage ) 
  • Conservation (as its a listed building )  

We submitted our initial application just after new year and since then we have been in correspondence with the council on further information they require before they will even consider making it a live project on their website. 

 As of today we have got two relatively minor outstanding issues, as we understand it, that we are seeking to address as soon as we are able with Rod Wells, who is acting on our behalf :

1.    Outstanding elevation drawings for new post office fortress walls 

2.    Advertising signage elevation drawings and application form 

Once the District Council (SSDC) are happy with the information provided, we are hopeful of the project going live on their website and being able to be submitted to planning committee . 

At this stage we are targeting the May, or failing that, the June planning committee( dependent on SSDC) which if successful would still mean an autumn move is possible . 

 Our community share issue to fund this project will remain open until we purchase The George and if anyone has any further questions or believes they can help in any way the please contact us on

 In the meantime please keep in contact with all our shop & post office news via Facebook 'Winsham Village shop & Post Office' 

 Winsham Shop Management Committee  


8th February 2018

We are please to confirm that our change of use application for The George was submitted to South Somerset District Council (SSDC) on 2nd January 2018 thanks to help from Rod Wells, who is a qualified Chartered Surveyor and experienced in planning applications. Obtaining change of use for commercial use is a pre-requisite to our purchase of The George, which is currently a residential property.

As part of our case we have used data gathered from our traffic survey conducted on 1st December 2017 . A huge belated thank you to all of you who helped gather information, it has provided invaluable evidence. See photo of Chloe Besley and Di Wallbridge braving the cold. 

Since submission to SSDC we have been going through a process of validation with SSDC. We  have proposed that we will come back to them by 28th February with the further information that they are asking for. This is a very typical part of the planning process.

Once we have  SSDC 's validation, our application will be made public on their website and we will be in a position to go forward to a future planning committee meeting. Based on current timescales this is likely to be April /May at the earliest, dependent on SSDC. We will advise you when we know more and when it is appropriate for you to help us with your letters of support 

We are still optimistic of an Autumn move to The George, but obviously this is subject to change of use being granted.

Our current total for community shares applied for stands at £309,000 and our share offer remains open until our target of £350,000 is reached or until change of use is granted and we are about to purchase The George. Further share applications are very welcome

If anybody has any questions or wishes to know more about the application then please let us know on

Winsham Shop Management Committee 



14th December 2017-The AGM

On Wednesday 13th December the shop held its Annual General Meeting for all shareholders to review the financial year ending 30th September 2017 and receive an update on The George project.

The good news is that we are in better shape than last year with a small loss this year, versus last year’s loss of over £3,000.This is because we have been able to make wage savings, due to closing shop 30 minutes earlier at 6pm Monday to Friday with no obvious impact on sales .

However, our overall message is the same as last year ,that we have to come up with a new financial model with new premises or there will be no shop in Winsham, as we cannot continue to make a loss

Fantastic News

We are pleased to announce that we are making great strides in our plan to buy The George as the new location for Winsham Shop & Post office with a new financial model and we can confirm our change of use application will be with the Council pre Christmas.

We have received over £308,000 worth of applications for Community shares versus our target of £350,000.

Our Community share issue will stay open for next month or two until we are in a position to buy The George with change of use approval or until we meet our target.

Our community share issue provide us with the most cost effective way of funding The George and for our investors the opportunity of potentially benefitting from 30% tax relief and earning 1.5% interest. There is a minimum £500 investment.

 If you would like to know more email

Alternatively, if you want to show your support you can pick up a form in the shop to buy £10 membership shares which entitle you to have a say in how your shop is run. These shares are effectively a donation as do not earn interest and are not refundable.

 A big thank you to Steve Brazier, from Church St. who kindly donated a 1950’s bottle of Madeira to the shop which we were able to raffle to raise funds.

We raised £135 and the winner was Steve Weller – Congratulations Steve & Cheers!

We would like to say a big thank you to all our customers, investors, staff and volunteers who make our community owned shop possible.

Happy Christmas to you all and looking forwards to a very exciting new year for Winsham Shop and for Winsham.

Winsham Shop Management Committee




For more general information you may find the links below helpful:
Plunkett logo
The Plunkett Foundation is supporting The George project by providing invaluable advice and support. Click on Logo.

Information from HMRC on Social Investment Tax Relief can be found by CLICKING HERE.

The historical background to two significant buildings
Interesting links to the history of Winsham Shop and the history of The George Inn.

TOP PUB-The George
The George

The Story of over 150 years of service to the village
WINSHAM SHOP- the village

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