Delight as post office is opened in Beccles store
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A post office counter service was officially reopened in an area of Beccles yesterday.
Peter Aldous MP for Waveney and former Beccles mayor Graham Catchpole, cut the ribbon at the new Premier Express Rigbourne Hill Convenience Store, which has had a £50,000 revamp to turn it into a new-style open-plan Post Office local branch.
Fifteen months ago, the post office at the nearby East of England Co-operative Society shop closed despite two campaigns to keep it open, something former Waveney MP Bob Blizzard, who was responsible for one of the campaigns, said was a 'tragedy for the local community'.
Store manager Raj Paratheepan, whose sister Nirosi Manokaran is the new subpostmaster, said he was pleased they had saved the service.
He said: 'Customers are delighted to have a post office in Rigbourne Hill again.
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'They really like the fact it is in a convenience store and they can do their shopping at the same time. They are very happy with the really long opening hours as this makes visiting the post office very convenient.'
Mr Catchpole, district councillor for Beccles south, who played a pivotal role in restoring the service, said that it was a real lifeline for the area.
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'South Beccles has been without a post office for too long and it has been sorely missed by residents, which is why I had been campaigning for a replacement,' he said.
'I am now pushing for improvements to the car parking facilities outside the new post office.
'With the help of county councillor Chris Punt, I am hopeful that this may be in place within the next few months.
'It is vital that we provide this kind of quality facility in south Beccles and I encourage everyone to use it as much as possible. It is the end of a long campaign to get our post office back. I am very pleased with the result, and thank Mrs Manokaran and the Post Office for putting their faith into this part of Beccles.'
The post office will be open from 7.30am to 8.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am to 7.30pm on Saturdays, offering customers an extra 30 hours a week compared with the previous opening hours.
Mr Aldous added: 'Post offices are vital to the local community and I am so pleased that a shop in the heart of the community has taken on the post office and is offering really long, convenient opening hours to benefit local residents.'
Post Office local is a new concept for delivering post office services and products from an open plan counter alongside retail transactions during shop opening hours.