Stur plans the first permanent indoor shopping area


This month’s news from the unofficial capital of the Blackmore Vale …

A move to re-open the NatWest bank building in Sturminster Newton will give local artisans their own ‘shop front’, and seeks to increase consumer footfall to benefit all local businesses.
The planned indoor shopping area in the old NatWest Bank is to be known as ‘1855’ – the year the building is believed to have opened as the National Provincial Bank

The NatWest Project for a new indoor shopping area – to be known as ‘1855’ – is coming together. The unusual name refers to the date the building is believed to have opened as the National Provincial Bank.
If you are interested in a customer-facing selling space for your artisan business, a presentation for potential hirers will be held on 11th May, for an informal gathering at 5pm with the presentation starting at 5.30pm.
To book a space and learn more about the scheme, please contact either Cheryl Basten on or Jacqui Wragg on
The target date for opening is the 20th July, exactly two years after the popular Emporium opened in the former Lloyds Bank.

Local photographer Adie Ray made use of the empty NatWest building to create a still life shoot © Adie Ray

Alongside established retailers
There will be varying areas of selling space available to hire, from two strong rooms and one small room, to separated spaces on the open floor, along with shelving and cabinets. A curator will in charge of sales.
The Community Benefit Society intends this to be a high quality destination to attract more shoppers to Stur.
“The commitment we have made is to avoid new retailers who compete with existing shops – we want our local shops to thrive, not to drive them out of business,” says Cllr Nick Dodson, Chairman of Sturminster Newton Community Benefit Society Limited (SturBen) who is leading the project.
“This is not ‘another charity shop’, this is a commercial enterprise. We hope this project will enable our Blackmore Vale entrepreneurs to grow, move on and employ staff, thereby creating more jobs in the area.”


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