Under-threat Post Office services in Longhoughton could be saved, as the Co-op investigates moving them into its store in the village.
As reported in last week’s Gazette, the facility, which is currently housed in the Spar shop, is expected to close soon.
This is because the Spar store itself, located on North End, is due to shut at the end of April after the firm’s parent company, ISS, decided it was no longer viable.
At the recent Longhoughton Parish Council meeting, Simon Buist, from RAF Boulmer, said that if nobody comes forward to run the Post Office, it would close in early May and he urged discussions to take place with the Co-op ‘as a matter of urgency’ to see if the services could be transferred to its village shop on Burnside.
Now, the Gazette has been told that the Co-op is looking at this option. A spokesman for the Co-op said: “We are investigating the possibility of moving the Post Office into the Co-op store in Longhoughton, but nothing is confirmed as yet.”
But parish-council chairman Bryan Ellis said he is hopeful that a deal can be reached, although he admitted that the village is set to face a short-term period without a Post Office.
Speaking to the Gazette yesterday, he said: “I spoke to the Post Office who said that the Co-op had applied to take on the village Post Office. Because they already supply Post Office services in other locations, their application should be quick and they gave the indication that we should have an active Post Office in the autumn of this year, but we are waiting for something official.
“As I understand it, the Post Office will close soon and we will be without a Post Office service for a couple of months, but if the Co-op goes through we will have one in the medium term. If this is the case, it means that we will have a short-term problem with some residents who we have identified will need help in accessing Post Office services in the interim.”
He said that helping residents will be the subject of discussion at the next parish council meeting at Boulmer Village Hall on Monday, April 18, starting at 7.30pm.