Village post office could be in broom cupboard

First published in News Malvern Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

A VILLAGE could finally get a post office but it may be based in a broom cupboard if space cannot be found for it in the local shop.

Neil Jenkins, a field change adviser for Post Office Limited, has been working with leaders at Kempsey Parish Council and a local shop to try and get the village a post office.

The village has been without a post office since the one in Post Office Lane closed when the postmaster retired four years ago this month with the nearest based in St Peter’s, Worcester.

Mr Jenkins gave a talk about possible solutions at a meeting of the parish council at Kempsey Community Centre.

The preferred option is a post office at the village shop – The Original Stores – but one of the 700 to 800 outreach services in the country could also be used. This would mean Kempsey could have a post office at a pub, a church vestry or even the broom cupboard at the community centre which would be operated for a set number of hours each week.

The cost of any work to make the location suitable, including electrical work, would be picked up by Post Office Ltd, not the parish council.

However, Mr Jenkins said he did not believe the owner of the local shop backed a post office at his shop even though the extra footfall may boost his business.

He said: “If they don’t want to attach a post office to their business, we have to back off. I have tried to lead the horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

Coun John Michael said they were still in talks with the local shop which would be an ideal place to have a post office.

Mr Jenkins said a mobile post office van would cost £70,000 and was not being considered as an option.

He said he had a sub postmaster in mind to run the outreach service and will now begin talks with him although he has yet to approach him.

He said: “A hosted outreach service is something we would be more than willing to pursue. It would be for a fixed number of hours for a fixed number of days per week.”

However, he said core post officers may also do other outreach work in other villages which may mean Kempsey would not have ‘first dibs’ on opening times.

Bob Singh, owner of The Original Stores in Kempsey, said: “We’re not sure yet what we’re going to do. I need to know what they’re going to offer me first.”

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