Rising energy bills and increasing competition will see Highburton Village Stores close its doors this month after 150 years of serving the community.

The shop, near Huddersfield, opened in 1856 and is believed to be the oldest one-shop society co-operative in the world.

Store owner Roger Wilson said he was calling time on the business due to falling trade and rising costs. He said: "Business has been on a steady decline for the past few years, but it really fell after Christmas.

"On top of that, heating and lighting bills have increased massively. Our gas bill has almost doubled in the past 12 months."

He added that the government should take responsibility to stem the tide of local store closures in the UK. "If supermarkets are allowed to come in and undercut us then we don't stand a chance. The government should be shouldering some of the blame for this and doing more to help local retailers."

Roger called on other communities to support their local store to save them from a similar fate. "It's use it or lose it," said Roger. "The other week our takings suddenly went up, as no one could get out of the village with the snow. When the weather improved, they all went back to the local supermarket.

"It may be too late for us, but many local shops face the same fate unless local people support them."

Topics