Village’s Co-op unable to house Post Office

The former Spar building in Longhoughton.
The former Spar building in Longhoughton.

Hopes of re-opening a full-time Post Office service in Longhoughton have been dashed, with the Co-op unable to take on the responsibility.

However, the village’s Co-op store will be launching a MyHermes’ ParcelShop next Thursday, allowing customers to send and collect parcels, as well as deliver to British Forces Post Office addresses.

Longhoughton lost its Post Office in April last year. It had been located inside the Spar shop, which shut shortly after.

Discussions had been ongoing with the Co-op about its branch in the village taking on Post Office services. But at last Monday’s Longhoughton Parish Council meeting, Coun Eleanor Phillips announced that this would not happen.

She said: “The Co-op is unable to house the Post Office. It is very sad, but it was all down to the cost of it. The decision was nothing to do with the local branch though.”

She added that the mobile Post Office service will continue to stop in the village each Friday, from noon until 2pm.

And newly-elected Longhoughton county councillor Wendy Pattison said: “As I understand it, the Post Office would be willing to come to Longhoughton if somebody local would take it on.”

After the meeting, the Co-op said it was delighted to be launching the in-store MyHermes’ ParcelShop service ‘as part of its commitment to support the local community’.

A Co-op spokesman said: “We know local people, including at RAF Boulmer, have been concerned about postal services in the area. We hope this will ease the situation.”

The former Spar building is owned by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which is part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

RAF Boulmer representative Simon Buist said: “The MoD plans to put it up for sale, but this is not going to be in the immediate future. The size of the MoD’s estate is such that one building in one village is unfortunately not priority.”

A hairdressers also currently operates from the site, through a lease agreement.