07:00 Wednesday 06 November 2013

Battle to extend Ely's Post Office lease rumbles on

Written byJORDAN DAY

Ely Post Office Ely Post Office

The future of Ely’s post office still hangs in the balance as bosses continue to try and get the lease on the current premises extended.

As previously reported, if Post Office Ltd cannot persuade Lloyds Pharmacy to extend the lease on the building in High Street, a temporary building in one of Ely’s car parks could be used to accommodate the post office over the Christmas period.

The lease runs out on Sunday, November 17 and with a decision yet to be made on whether the post office can relocate to inside the Premier Convenience Store in High Street – a proposed move announced earlier this year – the hunt is now on to find temporary accommodation.

Residents have reacted angrily to the portable building idea - insisting that residents, especially the elderly, cannot be expected to queue in a car park during the winter months.

Fears have also been raised about the security of having a post office in a temporary building over what is traditionally the post office’s busiest period.

District Cllr Jeremy Friend-Smith, whose ward is Ely South, has described the temporary plan as “scandalous”.

There have been fears for the future of the city’s post office ever since Lloyds announced it wanted to relocate to St Mary’s Surgery. Those plans were approved and the Lloyds branch in High Street has now closed.

Post Office bosses want to relocate and modernise the branch by moving it inside the convenience store just a few doors along and a public consultation on those proposals ended on October 15.

The company says it is now working closely with East Cambridgeshire District Council to make sure that a post office service is maintained in Ely – however that may be.

A spokeswoman for Post Office Ltd said: “We are negotiating to extend the lease for as long as possible and we hope this will be feasible.

“We are working with the district council to site a post office portacabin in a council car park. This should be a short-term arrangement as plans are being finalised to re-locate Ely Post Office a few doors away to the Premier Convenience Store.”

Nobody from Lloyds Pharmacy was available to comment.

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