he threat of closure to a Thorpe St Andrew post office has been lifted after details of refurbishment works and longer hours were revealed.

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The town’s Thunder Lane branch, has been included in a national three-year investment programme for 6,000 branches, around half the Post Office network.

This will see it close for 10 days next month while it is refurbished, between Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 16, before reopening at 9am on Monday, March 18.

In addition to the work, the post office will be staying open until 5.30pm on Saturdays, meaning it will be open from Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5.30pm.

Sub postmaster of the Thunder Lane branch for the past eight years, Neal Gurney, is delighted the investment has been announced.

He said: “There were a lot of post offices closing a few years ago, so everyone was fearing closure and a couple of others shut in the area, on the Heartsease and Plumstead estates, but that has allowed us to stay open really because we absorbed some of their customers. It’s reassuring to hear the Post Office is investing this money as it will mean us staying about for the forseeable future.”

Mr Gurney says the refurbishment will see two back rooms become part of the branch, increasing the size by around a quarter of its current size, and adding a fourth counter.

He added: “The Post Office want the goverment to allow us to offer more services, that’s what they plan to do, as we do less pensions than we used to do because most people get their pension paid straight into their bank, so the way our business is run is changing.”

The Post Office has said the national investment programme makes a commitment to no more branch closures and Ian Mackie, county councillor for the south-east ward of Thorpe, welcomed the news.

He said: “This is fantastic news for the local community. We have been monitoring the situation of this post office for some years and were very concerned when we heard about Post Office reviews in the past.

“So to hear Thunder Lane is not only going to be maintained but enhanced has very much got to be welcomed for the local community and the post office itself.”

While the refurbishment work is being completed people are being encouraged to use the post offices in Wroxham Road, Sprowston, and Yarmouth Road, Thorpe.

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