Ely Post Office saga set to drag on
09:27 09 April 2014
The Post Office conceded this week that it won’t be able to find a new home for its Ely service before the end of May and has applied for permission to extend its stay in the Paradise Centre car park.
Officials have applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council for permission to remain in the car park until September – some 10 months on from the initial move.
When it relocated into a portable building back in November, officials said they remained confident of securing new premises shortly after Christmas but those plans quickly evaporated.
Deals to move into the Premier convenience store, in High Street, and the former Woolworths site, in Fore Hill, have both fallen through, though Post Office insists it is still engaged with interested parties in the city.
In a letter to the district council, the Post Office said: “The search for suitable alternative premises in the town has taken longer than anticipated.
“A permanent new home for the post office will now not be secured by May 4. To ensure that services remain available to the residents of Ely, an extension to the timescale of the temporary planning permission is necessary.”
The temporary post office has led to the loss of nine car park spaces for users of the Paradise Centre car park.
Ely councillor Jeremy Friend Smith said he was “less than pleased” with the situation.
He said: “I know a lot of people are working hard to find a solution and I very much hope that they will sort something out.
“My original thought was that they should do was to acquire a suitable premises and then get someone – another business perhaps - to come in with them but I don’t think they are keen to do that.
“With the development in the north of Ely, which has just had outline planning permission, coming we are going to need a reliable service.”
Currently, Post Office is providing the mayor of Ely, Cllr Elaine Griffin Singh, with a fortnightly update on its progress.