A CONTROVERSIAL new charity shop in Purewell has come under fire after a number of complaints.

The Little Shop On The Corner, in the former Motorist Discount Centre, has attracted criticism on social media from residents, while complaints have also been filed to Trading Standards.

Last week, police were also called to the site over a parking dispute outside the shop.

The shop, owned by Karen and Lee Maidment, plans to operate as a charity shop called The Dovecote Charity, as well as a mix of joint and independent ventures from the couple including a tea room, dog therapy and a beautician.

Karen said: “We’ve tried to start a very lovely thing at The Little Shop On The Corner for the community to share but because the site is so awful with public intimidation and everything, I really don’t know what to do.

“It’s all mine and Lee’s money, all our possessions in there and we want to make something lovely there to combat loneliness, give training to young people and education church values. There’ll be a little tearoom and craft centre for everyone to come all day.

“However, we’ve been met terrible abuse by some of the public, but many others have said they really love it. The abuse has been so bad recently that I’ve had to call all volunteers away because it’s not safe for me or them to be there with the onslaught.”

Complaints have centred upon the shop not being a registered charity as well as claims the site is untidy.

But the couple say they haven't been able to obtain their registered charity status because they haven't been open for a sufficient amount of time.

A spokesperson from Trading Standards said: "We can confirm that a complaint has been made which we will look into. At this time, we are unable to comment further."

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “At 3.53pm on Tuesday November 26, we received a report of a disturbance outside the Motorists’ Discount Centre at Stanpit in Christchurch.

“Officers attended and established that it related to a civil dispute over car parking. All parties were spoken to and no further police action was required.”

Under the shop’s previous owner, the outside space was used by customers and members of the public. However, Karen claims the car park is private.

She added: “I’m not blaming the public, there are no signs from the council saying it is private land and the barriers for the car park have been pushed out which shortens the pavement outside of the shop. If this gets fixed, I’m sure the problem will go away.”

Trading Standards officers are due to visit the site this week.

A spokesman from The Charity Commission said: "“According to our records we have received no complaints relating to A Little Shop on the Corner. A Little Shop on the Corner is not a charity registered with the Commission. The public want and deserve to know where any donations they make are going, so anyone soliciting donations must be clear with donors."