Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spelt out today how the rollout of Coronavirus vaccines means we can finally start to plan our way of out of the latest ‘lockdown’.
With COVID-19 restrictions being eased gradually over the coming months, our schools can reopen on March 8th; the stay-at-home message will be removed from March 29th; then gyms, libraries, some hospitality and other non-essential retailers should be able to resume trading from April 12th, assuming all’s still going to plan. More details of the Government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ can be found >>HERE<<.
Despite confirmation that enforced closure or takeaway-only trading will continue for many of our village shops and venues for at least another seven weeks, the future is looking surprisingly bright on Ruddington’s High Street. For a start, the final two retail units at our chic new shopping area ‘The Courtyard’ have now been let. One of them will be specialising in pet products which have been unavailable to buy within our village centre since ‘Drinks & More’ closed down early in 2015. The other is an established estate agent ‘new’ to our village.
The Pet Pantry is the idea of dog lover Max Abott – who is also co-owner of Compound Strength and Conditioning on Brookside Road. “We don’t have a store in the village that’s sole focus is on pets” explains Max. “This means that I travel out of the village weekly to buy food for my pet (Cali the springer spaniel)”. Hence this new venture to provide Ruddington with our own dedicated pet supplies shop again.
To make sure the stock it carries is what residents want to buy once his business opens, Max has launched an online survey he’d very much like village pet owners to complete, which you can find >>HERE<<. “We would love to hear what you would like to see in your local pet shop” he says, but adds “As much all natural and waste free product as possible is needed for the pets of Ruddington. There are certain things I really advocate, like raw food, as it’s kept my dog incredibly happy and healthy.” An exact opening date isn’t fixed yet, but it’s planned to be April. In the unlikely event we’re still in ‘lockdown’ by then his new business would still be permitted to open as an ‘essential’ shop.
The signage and some of the interior fittings are already in place for the other new High Street addition at the front of The Courtyard – Benjamin’s Estate & Letting Agent, which has been trading since 2016 in Keyworth, then also in Cotgrave. However, director Ben Featherstone decided to delay the opening of his third, Ruddington office until current restrictions are eased: “A conscious decision has been not to open our doors during a lockdown period” he says. “As things start to ease you will slowly spot staff in the office and final décor changes. We still have lots to do – internal decor & finishes to sort – but we are finally getting there!”
Ben was born and bred in Ruddington and is proud of his local family heritage: “I am a ‘Saxby’ on the maternal side, and I believe we are one of the oldest original families of the village. The Parish Council were kind enough to name ‘Saxby Court’ off Kirk Lane in honour of this. Anyone that knows me understands how passionate I am about this village. Fortuitously it is also in my blood.”
Ben continues: “I understand residents’ concerns: ‘Not another ruddy estate agent?!’ But we are not really ‘new’ to Ruddington, given that we already sell and rent a large number of homes in the village, albeit from our Keyworth & Cotgrave offices. The Ruddington office was merely a natural and heartfelt progression. Working with Victoria Properties on the Courtyard, we held a verbal agreement to take residence in the building almost two years ago! Sadly, revised planning and COVID-19 delayed things somewhat.”
Once ‘lockdown’ is lifted, and Benjamin’s High Street office opens, Ben will be based here with Wanda Bonser – and they’ll be on the lookout to recruit further staff members from the village.
Ruddington’s latest retailers will join several others who opened their doors for the first time last year, on both sides of High Street, along with Ruddington’s new SPAR Convenience Store on Wilford Road which starts trading on March 3rd. There will also soon be two further High Street shop units at the site of the former Barclay & Cook store, the construction of which (below) is now progressing well.
Meantime, RUDDINGTON.info is still awaiting news about what’s happening next with our former Nottingham Building Society branch and Ruddington Village Butchers’ shop on Church Street but – the way things are going in our village right now – they’re unlikely to be vacant for too much longer.