Shop faces library threat

A DVD rental shop in a North Somerset village may be forced to close - because a library is undercutting its prices. Top Ten Videos, in Winscombe, has rented out blockbuster films to movie fans for nine years but is now facing stiff competition from an un

A DVD rental shop in a North Somerset village may be forced to close - because a library is undercutting its prices.Top Ten Videos, in Winscombe, has rented out blockbuster films to movie fans for nine years but is now facing stiff competition from an unexpected source.Winscombe's library, run by North Somerset Council, just a few doors along from the shop, in Woodborough Road, charges less and lets out its DVDs for longer.It asks members to pay only £2.50 to watch the latest titles, such as the Oscar-winning film The Queen, for up to seven days, compared with the shop's price of £2.95 per night.Jenny Hucker, who owns the independent video store, fears she may have to shut up shop if trade dies off. The 62-year-old said: "Small traders like me have enough competition from supermarkets without the council going against us."Business here is unpredictable. If it rains, then people will watch films. If it's sunny, people would rather have a barbecue than sit down in front of the box for an evening."I feel I have been misled. A librarian told me what was happening but said only older DVDs would be involved. "The films now advertised by the council are practically new. Any undercutting will affect my business and cause me serious problems. I would hate to be the one to leave another empty shop in Winscombe."Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council chairman, Chris Sampson, said: "The parish council supports all commercial activities in the village and would be concerned if a business was in any way disadvantaged".A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "Our libraries, in common with libraries across the country, now offer a range of audiovisual materials such as DVDs. "These are now regarded as an integral part of the service and attract significant numbers of new users to our libraries."Experience shows that these new users often go on to spend more time in our libraries, looking at the wider range of material available and borrowing books as well as DVDs. "The extension of the service to Winscombe results from customer demand following the successful launch of a similar collection at nearby Banwell. "The service has already been welcomed by library customers.


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