Could you run a post office? ‘Devastated’ Howard Estate community still searching for new postmaster six months after sudden closure
PUBLISHED: 20:23 26 August 2017
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A Bury St Edmunds community left “devastated” by the sudden loss of its post office six months ago is still searching for a new postmaster.
The St Olaves Precinct Post Office closed down in February this year, after the lease was bought out by someone who did not want to run a post office.
Despite the shop still standing empty months later, The Post Office have had no interest from any potential new postmaster.
Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART), said: “I have tried talking to other businesses, but no one has found it viable to run.
“It was a real meeting place and was very popular, it was where everyone got their pensions and it was an important part of the community.
“We were devastated when it closed down, we still are devastated. I really do hope we can find a solution and bring our post office back.”
St Edmundsbury Borough and Bury Town councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who represents residents on the estate, said he surprised how hard it has been to try and get a new post office up and running.
“Everyone is desperate to get a post office back up there,” he said. “From what I can understand it needs to be run as its own business, which means you need someone prepared to take it on and take the risk. You can’t force people to run a business. They need a new postmaster, whether that is in an existing business or a new one, but making this happen is difficult.”
A Post Office spokeswoman, said: “We are still working hard to try to restore Post Office services to St Olaves as soon as possible.
“The vacancy is advertised on our website www.runapostoffice.co.uk. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the unplanned closure of the branch.”
A letter sent to Mr Hopfensperger by the Post Office apologised for how long it was taking. It said: “I am sorry for the time it is taking to restore a service locally and for the inconvenience the ongoing temporary closure is causing our customers.”
The letter also asked for any suggestions that could help restore the service.
Alternative branches available to residents are the Lake Avenue Post Office, 4-5 South Parade, and at the Bury Post Office, 15 Cornhill.