BRENT Knoll's village shop will close next month, the parish council has confirmed.

The village shop in Brent Street will cease trading on March 1 just six months after the Post Office, which is based in the same building, was temporarily closed due to the postmaster resigning.

Despite the announcement Brent Knoll Parish Council and villagers are continuing with a plan to keep the shop and Post Office open and said 'the only hope' of keeping the facility is for the community to step in and run it.

Earlier this month the parish council agreed to fund the printing and distribution of a survey about the future of the shop after an online questionnaire attracted strong levels of response.

The survey seeks to establish whether there is sufficient support for the village shop to be taken on as a community business.

Cllr David Sturgess from Brent Knoll Parish Council, said 600 questionnaires will be distributed door-to-door later this month and an online version of the survey has attracted more than 75 responses.

700 copies will also be available from the village shop, the village school and two local pubs.

"The purpose of this questionnaire is very simple: if the proposal for a Community Shop is supported by a majority of parishioners, if sufficient people volunteer to help to staff the shop, and if enough people agree to buy shares to be voting members, the project can secure the backing of the Plunkett Foundation," Cllr Sturgess said.

"The Plunkett Foundation is a national charity which has helped 300 villages to set up successful Community Shops, but they need to know that there is sufficient local support for a community shop.

"It is crucial, therefore, that as many Brent Knoll and East Brent parishioners as possible take the three minutes required to complete the questionnaire.

"The early indications from the online survey already suggest that there is strong support for the concept of a Community Shop, with sufficient people willing to be volunteers to run the shop, and enough people prepared to invest in shares (priced between £50-£100) to become voting members of a new community enterprise.

"But the final outcome will be determined by how many people complete and return the questionnaire – and the collective results of their submissions."

The deadline for returning completed questionnaires is March 7.