Downham Market welcomes new post office and WHSmith Local store

Anglia Picture Agency-Pic by Rob HowarthDownham Market Post Office opening pictured with postmaster

Anglia Picture Agency-Pic by Rob HowarthDownham Market Post Office opening pictured with postmaster Parvin Begum, Town mayor John Fox and Cllr's Tony White and Don Tyler - Credit: Anglia Picture Agency

A west Norfolk community has welcomed a new family-run post office after a longer-than-expected wait. Downham Market post office, which is now also a WHSmith Local store, has moved from Wales Court to the High Street.

The branch, which has doubled in size, has four modern counters and increased its range of stationary, cards and gift wrap.

Owner Anwar Ali, who also owns the Downham Tandoori, said: 'We are very excited. I know so many customers but now, after 20 years, I call them friends. I am happy because the customers are happy.

'We have invested money to brighten and modernise the shop,' he said, adding the lack of air conditioning at the previous branch made for difficult working conditions.

Downham Market mayor John Fox cut the ribbon to the new branch on 31 High Street, which is managed by Mr Ali and his sister Parvin Begun, who is postmistress.

The pair wanted to broaden the variety of products on offer at the store, which will open for an extra hour on a Saturday, and now sell a wider range of newspapers, magazines and periodicals as well as WHSmith branded cards.

Mr Fox, said: 'I think it's important that we keep our post office facility in town.'

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He added the new facilities would mean an improved service for customers.

Although the move was met with positive reactions from the public during the consultation period, concerns were raised by customers about crossing a town centre road and queues spilling onto the pavement.

Will Russell, regional manager, said: 'We are confident that this new modern Post Office service will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future. This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office.'

The move took longer than planned due to the amount of additional work required at the new branch, housed in an old building.

The new opening hours are Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm.

Have you got a story about a new business? Email sophie.biddle@archant.co.uk

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