Sadness as town centre post office and shop to close
- Credit: Archant
Residents of a Norfolk town could be left without a post office branch because the convenience store where it is located is closing down.
The McColl's store in Miller's Walk, Fakenham, is due to close in January 31 next year, meaning its post office will have to shut as well.
And although the Post Office says it is committed to staying in Fakenham, no new venue has yet been found.
Chris Noble, McColl's manager, said he and the store's 17-strong staff were in the dark over the post office's fate.
Mr Noble said: "I keep getting customers asking about the closure, and I've had to say 'I have no idea'.
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"It will be sad, I've learnt a lot here, and enjoyed meeting the people of Fakenham."
A Post Office spokesman said they are looking to stay in the town, but have not managed to secure another location. They said: "A year ago we received a resignation from the operator of Fakenham Post Office.
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"A purchase of the Post Office and store was planned, but was recently withdrawn. We do not own the branch's premises, and they are due to be withdrawn next year.
"McColl's have agreed to continue to operate the Post Office until early 2020, which is beyond their notice period.
"We understand how important a Post Office is to a community and we would like to reassure customers we are committed to providing Post Office services in Fakenham.
"We are exploring ways to maintain Post Office services in the area."
Post offices are required to consult on planned changes to the service, and if these are necessary they will be advertised in the store.
A spokesman for McColl's said: "Having explored all options, regretfully we have taken the difficult decision not to renew the lease. Its last day of trading will be January 31, 2020.
"We are saddened to no longer be operating the store and our priority is to support all affected colleagues."
The store's premises are already listed online and with estate agents. A nearby branch of McColl's on Bridge Street will not be affected by the closure.
The Post Office is encouraging any business owner interested in running a Post Office to email them on ND.email@example.com, or to phone 0333 345 5560, selecting option 2.
The vacancy is also advertised on www.runapostoffice.co.uk, where the final date for applications is listed as May 2020.