Lloyds moves to calm fears over future of Ely’s post office

Ely Post Office, High Street

Ely Post Office, High Street - Credit: Archant

THE firm in charge of Ely’s High Street post office has attempted to assuage confusion over the branch’s future this week by insisting that negotiations are taking place for a new owner to take over.

This listing appeared on the website of commercial property agents Robinson Layer this week

This listing appeared on the website of commercial property agents Robinson Layer this week - Credit: Archant

The Ely Standard revealed last month how Lloydspharmacy, which holds the contract to manage the post office, was moving out of the High Street and into new premises in St Mary’s Street, near the GP practice.

At the time, Lloyds insisted that it was seeking someone to “maintain continuity of the Post Office service” in the city but fresh doubt was placed on that claim last week after advertisements for the premises were placed online by an estate agent.

Cambridge-based commercial property agent Robinson Layer said that both 19 and 19a High Street were up for sale, with the annual leaseholds available for £35,000 and £30,000 respectively.

The listing read: “Two adjoining prime city centre shops to let on new leases or can be combined to create one large unit. Available individually or as one from September 2013.”

Staff at the branch have previously admitted that they are in the dark about the future of the business.

After contacting Lloyds this week, however, it has been revealed that the chemist is in advanced negotiations with an interested buyer, potentially securing the future of the outlet.

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A spokesman said: “We have secured an interested party to take over the post office business on the High Street, and they are currently going through the necessary processes with the Post Office.

“Lloydspharmacy is working very closely with all parties involved with a view to reaching a smooth and simultaneous transition.”

The news comes just a few months after South East Cambridgeshire MP Sir Jim Paice criticised Lloyds for its management of the branch and called for a review of its contract.

He said: He said: “Ever since Lloyds took on the post office in Ely there have been problems, queues, cleanliness issues and staffing problems.”