People power wins the day in newsagents' battle against big name supermarket

Julie (centre) with Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson (left) and other supporters of the Park News campaign

The owner of the last remaining newsagents and post office in Barrowford was celebrating victory this week after councillors voted unanimously to turn down an application by a supermarket to sell newspapers across the road from her shop.

And Julie MacAdam said it was thanks to the "phenonemal" support of her customers and the community of Barrowford that her business can continue to thrive.

Julie, who owns Park News in Gisburn Road with her partner, Chris Riley, said: "Our customers, residents and people in the community got behind us in this campaign in a way I never expected.

"They weren't afraid to speak up for us to show how much the shop is needed in the community and how much it means to them and we are extremely grateful.

"It just shows what a small community can do, the support for us has been fantastic."

There was standing room only at a meeting of the Development Management Committee last night where councillors went against planning officers' recommendations and kicked out the application by Booths supermarket to overturn a planning condition, imposed on the store when opened three years ago, not to sell newspapers or magazines.

This decision followed on from Barrowford Parish Council and Barrowford and Western Parishes Area Committee, who also vetoed the application.

Julie added: "Once again the committee went over the application in fine detail, picked it apart and voted unanimously against it.

"We had a very strong case and they could see that."

Among those speaking in support of Park News was Post Office representative Mr Richard Hall who made the journey from the Midlands for the meeting.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson also threw his support behind the Park News' campaign and called on Booths to withdraw the application, claiming it would have a minimal financial impact on the store but a catastrophic one on the newsagents.

A petition launched by the couple gathered around 2,000 signatures which is equivalent to over 50% of the population.

Julie and Chris launched a campaign when they found out about the application just before Christmas. The news left them devastated as they believed that if Booths were given permission to sell newspapers it would spell the end of their shop and also the post office which the business took on last year.

Julie added: "We had no idea what to do at first because we had never been in this position before.

"We came up the idea of the petition and it snowballed from there with people coming into the shop particularly to sign the petition and let us know they would back us all the way.

"And that is exactly what they have done."

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