Expression of Interest – from White Hart

I refer to the Parish Council notice, in connection with a permanent shop, which asked for any Expressions of Interest to be emailed to you.

You and the Parish Council are aware of our interest and as you know we have held some preliminary discussions. However please accept this document as our formal Expression of Interest. “We” and “Our” are used because this is a joint initiative on behalf of Giles Fern and me. I am the owner of the property which is to be converted and Giles is my business partner and the person who will run the business on a daily basis, as he does with the White Hart. The idea of a 3-year agreement is a good basis on which to develop a shop and as for your criteria I will take them in order.

  1. Our plan is to develop our existing Barn which is large enough to accommodate a shop housing all the necessary facilities. The Barn is approximately 18M *4M. There is a need for a considerable amount of work, as you are aware, but the structure is brick built and is generally of sound construction. All utility feeds are already in place to the PH and the Hotel and thus can be extended. {The Parish Council is aware of our need for financial assistance, and we are also in negotiations for other contributions. I accept all on-going annual costs will be my responsibility}
  2. Giles has considerable experience in planning the staffing needs of the White Hart and that means covering the Restaurant, Hotel and Pub and the standard “working day” is between the hours of 0700-2400 for 7 days a week. (Sunday excepted). The majority of our staff are recruited from within the village, and we would intend to follow that pattern with the shop.
  3. Our intention is to provide all the services mentioned and Giles has already made preliminary enquiries to the Post Office and to the local newspaper suppliers. Key food items would of course be a major element of the shop.
  4. Giles has managed the White Hart for over 20 years, and it is the most successful retail operation in Sherington. I have been overseeing the development of the business for over the same period and between us we have successfully managed the business through the lockdown period.
  5. Our location, close to the intersection of Gun Lane, Church Road, School Lane and Park Road is certainly “Core”.
  6. I have reviewed the Sherington Neighbourhood Plan and it is clear that the White Hart is integral to the “village value” which my fellow villagers hold dear. The White Hart is not only a valued Village pub, but it is also recognised as being at the heart of the community. Giles and I have pride in owning and managing such a village treasure and we have improved its services over the years. The opportunity of establishing a shop provides both enhanced value to the future of the White Hart but also means we can make use of many of our current assets to guarantee a healthy future for a shop. Giles and I also envisage that we can utilise the shop and the White Hart to meet one of the missing elements of the Neighbourhood Plan, namely the concept of a village Hub. (See below).

I think that my answers to your criteria show how we are ideally placed to meet the needs of the village for a permanent, viable and valued shop.

Giles and I are also looking to provide some extra services such as having a station within the shop where some of our older and more disadvantaged residents can order goods online and take advantage of a channel which is not normally available to them. We also envisage that the customers of the shop can use the existing White Hart facilities on a morning for Coffee, Breakfast and catch-up meetings.

We have a strong view that a combination of a successful Public House with a Shop will help to attract and retain businesses within the village. We already act as a venue for the biggest independent business in Sherington and talking to business owners has highlighted that when they are looking to locate in a village they are influenced by the amenities on offer. The White Hart “hub” will offer a combination of, Restaurant, Lodging, Drinks, meeting place and now, hopefully, a shop to meet the needs of the business employees. We will provide more employment for the villagers by working in one of our “hub” offerings plus we will help to attract new companies and thus new work opportunities. A big plus for the village and immediate area.

We are excited by the opportunity to play an even greater role within the village and believe that our offering is in line with the needs of the village and meets the Neighbourhood Plan.

Please confirm your receipt of this email and keep me advised of any next steps.

Keith Shepherd and Giles Fern


Useful Contact Information

Parish Council Clerk (Interim):

  • Jacqueline Galloway
  • 07494 760791


  • Peter Palmer
  • 07710 242521

Other council members

Enquire Using Our Form