Fears Bury’s Howard Estate state may never get its Post Office service back

The old St Olave's Post Office
The old St Olave's Post Office
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A community leader fears a community that lost its Post Office six months ago may not get it back.

St Olave’s Precinct Post Office on Bury St Edmunds’ Howard Estate closed in February with less than five days notice to its staff after the shop lease was sold.

Since then Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART), has been investigating ways of bringing it back and has discussed the possibility with other shops on the estate and with Asda, without success.

“I really don’t know where we go from here,” he said. “It needs to go into a shop of some kind. I thought Asda was the last chance but they say they haven’t got the space.”

He understands the Post Office is not viable as a stand-alone business. Other shops on the estate felt they could not make the investment a Post Office would require in terms of secure accommodation and staff.

Ernie felt the Post office was an important part in the community, where the population is getting older and less mobile.

He added: “It’s a social hub for a lot of people – the Post Office was the best store anywhere to meet people.”

A Post Office spokeswoman said: “We are still working hard to try to restore Post Office services to St Olaves as soon as possible.

“The vacancy is advertised on our website www.runapostoffice.co.uk. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the unplanned closure of the branch.”

The Post Office says store owners do not pay it franchise fees and it pays for equipment and installation, though the shopkeeper is responsible for training staff.

Its website suggests St Olaves’s Post office would earn ‘in the range of £20,900 - £23,500 per annum’ in Post Office fees for transactions.