Woolbrook post office move shelved

Post Office.

Post Office. - Credit: Archant

THE future of Woolbrook’s post office has been left in limbo after a mooted move – that was backed by users – fell through because of unexpected costs.

The service looked set to modernise and relocate just metres up the road to Woolbrook News, although it will now stay where it is – and may share the building with a vets’ surgery.

The current subpostmistress insists the service will not be disrupted – even though it continues to delay her and her husband’s retirement.

Benedict Mansi, who owns Woobrook News with his wife Lydia, said: “By the time we had paid for staffing and insurance we would have been running at a loss – it wasn’t financially viable.”

He said he had not factored in taking on an extra member of staff, and that would have reversed the predicted sales boost from the increased footfall.

A consultation found that residents supported the move, as it would have meant the amenity would have been retained and modernised with longer opening hours and banking facilities.

Doreen Cummins, the current subpostmistress for Woolbrook, said there is no risk of a loss of service.

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“It’s a difficult position because we wanted to retire, but we are still open, and we will stay open,” she said. “We hope that the post office and the vets will be able to operate from the same building.

“It wouldn’t even be unique – there’s one in Cranbrook. But if anyone else would like to take it on, that’s still an option.”

An application to allow the shared use has already been approved by district planners.

But vet Peter Martin said he doesn’t anticipate the two businesses sharing the same premises, and hopes to open his surgery by the end of the summer.

“I’m disappointed it fell through,” he said. “Hopefully we can help Bob and Doreen to retire soon. We are all pretty optimistic.”

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