11:09 Tuesday 12 November 2013

Post Office confirms temporary portacabin home for Ely branch over Christmas period

Written byNATALIE ROBINSON

Ely Post Office in the High Street Ely Ely Post Office in the High Street Ely

A portacabin in an Ely car park will be home to the Post Office until January 2014, the company has confirmed.

The move has come after the current home, Lloyds Pharmacy on the High Street, have said they will not be renewing the lease.

The company has confirmed they have found new premises at the Premier Convenience Store in the High Street, with the details set to be finalised so it can be opened next year.

However, until this is ready in the New Year, customers will be forced to visit the portacabin in the car park of the Paradise Leisure Centre.

And while the Post Office hopes to reopen in their new store from January 2014, they have applied for planning permission to keep the portacabin in the car park for five months as a “precaution, rather than a likelihood”.

Customers will face a break in services from Wednesday, November 20 until the portacabin is set up and opened on Monday, November 25.

Julia Marwood, Post Office regional network manager, said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Ely. It was not Post Office Ltd’s decision to close the service in Lloyd’s Pharmacy, but longer term I am confident that customers will be very happy with their clean, modern Post Office when it moves to the Premier Convenience Store.

“While we accept that winter is not the ideal time for customers to visit a portacabin I am sure that customers would prefer this arrangement than no Post Office service in Ely until the permanent relocation is finalised and we have a Post Office to be proud of.

“I know the recent period of uncertainty has been causing concern to our customers and I apologise for this and for any inconvenience caused.”

12 spaces have been set aside in the short stay area of the car park on Newnham Street, and installation will start on the temporary building tomorrow (Wednesday, 13).

Cllr Richard Hobbs, chairman of community and environment committee, said: “We know how essential a Post Office is to many members of our community which is why we have done all we can to help the Post Office find a suitable location in their time of need.

“While it is not ideal to lose any car parking spaces in Ely, we know that the temporary loss of 12 bays is a small price to pay to ensure our residents have access to the services they need.”

Other Post Offices are available for the period that the Ely branch will be closed. These are Witchford Post Office at 114 Main Street, Witchford, and Stretham Post Office at 45 High Street, Stretham.

Ms Marwood added: “We regret that there will be a short break in the provision of Post Office services.

“However, through lots of hard work and negotiations we have managed to limit the temporary closure of the service to two-and-a-half days before the portacabin is available for use.”

The Post Office has described the closure of the Ely branch as “not ideal for Ely residents and businesses” but hopes that the residents will benefit from the longer opening hours of the new branch, between 7am and 10pm on Monday to Saturday and 8am to 9pm on Sunday, when selected services will be available.

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