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Community Shop Gets Topped Out at Normandy

Published on: 4 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 5 Sep, 2022

Bob Hutton conducted the “topping out” ceremony of Normandy’s new community shop.

By Martin Giles

The Community Shop at Normandy was topped out on Friday (September 2) as the new building reached its maximum height after just six weeks from being “a flat bed of concrete”.

Chairman of Normandy parish council Bob Hutton, who also chairs the Community Shop and Cafe Management Committee, explained that normally “topping out” involved the ceremonial placing of the last tile or timber and then a thank you to the people who have contributed to the build.

To the relief of onlookers Cllr Hutton declined to climb to the top of the roof and instead positioned a tile lower down.

In this case, he said, it was decided I was going to be the one laying the last tile. “If you look at the very top of the building, you’ll see a ridge tile that’s not quite in position, so it would make sense for me to reposition that, as it’s at the top of the building.

“Well it might make sense to you but if you think I’m going up there… So I asked the guys doing the roofing to find a tile I can ceremonially lay – and here it is,” he said pointing to a tile close by. “It’s a small step for me, but a giant leap for Normandy.”

Cllr Hutton thanked: “First of all, of course, the people of Normandy who, having said they wanted a shop, put their hands in their pockets and placed their trust in us to get the ball rolling.”

He also thanked the contractors Bill Kear and Ascot Timber, his fellow members of the management committee, past and present, and the architect.

“I hope you’ll agree that the building is impressive. You can see the roof, but also look at the front of the porch and you can see the cladding that will cover all the external walls. We feel that this is a building that will look fresh for years to come.”

A small crowd of Normandy residents had gathered to watch from behind safety barriers.

The next steps in the project are to carry out the fit-out, expected to be completed by November. It involves preparation of the interior, including the electrics, plumbing and other necessary services.

Then shelves will need to be stocked, and volunteers to man the shop trained, leading up to an opening during the first quarter of 2023.

Worplesdon county councillor Keith Witham.

Normandy resident of 33 years Chrissie Read watched the ceremony and told The Dragon that she and her husband were very pleased and excited about the new shop. She said: “It’s something that the village has needed for years.”

County councillor Keith Witham (Con, Worplesdon), also present,  pointed out that a grant of £517,000 was given by the Surrey County Council’s Your Fund Surrey for the project.

He said: “It’s great to see it coming to fruition, I have supported the project since the original concept.”

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