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Two blame

PUBLISHED: 19:34 10 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:37 03 March 2010

HOSTILITIES in a picturesque Suffolk border village have forced two businesswomen to sell up shop and move to Hadleigh.

When Something Special first opened in Dedham in the heart of Constable Country, owners Penny Rogers and Stella Bell hoped their little shop, selling topiary trees, gifts and teas, would be a welcome addition to the High Street.

HOSTILITIES in a picturesque Suffolk border village have forced two businesswomen to sell up shop and move to Hadleigh.

When Something Special first opened in Dedham in the heart of Constable Country, owners Penny Rogers and Stella Bell hoped their little shop, selling topiary trees, gifts and teas, would be a welcome addition to the High Street.

Instead, Penny said, they became the subject of a "witch hunt" which eventually drove them out.

Dedham Parish Council objected to the pair using a blackboard, pinned to a car, to attract tourists to their shop. Penny and Stella also made enemies among other traders in the village by allowing their plants to spill onto the pavement.

"We thought we would be serving a purpose but we didn't want to be there if no one wanted us," said Penny, 42, who lives in Ardleigh.

"Some of the villagers used our shop but the other half seemed to be out to make trouble for us. We couldn't be bothered with it all," she added.

"They complained about everything we did. It was like a witch hunt. If they won't have anything new in the village it will die out. They are living in the Dark Ages. They think it's their village and they don't like outsiders."

Stella, 59, added: "There were some people in the village who would stop and say how lovely the shop looked. As far as we were aware, we had satisfied all the authorities. We wanted it to be very tasteful, it certainly wasn't tacky."

Veronica Webber, parish councillor for Dedham, said the main objection had been to the blackboard advertisement. The council had been negotiating with Colchester District Council to establish whether the women could be forced to remove it.

"Many people took exception to that. They were also spreading their wares outside the premises, which was hazardous for people with buggies. No one wished them ill they were just causing a bother. I hope they have more luck with their next shop."

A spokesman from Colchester District Council, said: "There was consideration being given to the situation."

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