Post office to reopen in Gressenhall

The post office counter will reopen in Gressenhall stores. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The post office counter will reopen in Gressenhall stores. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

People in Gressenhall are celebrating news that their post office service will be reinstated.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has been pressing for the reopening of the post office in Gressenhall.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has been pressing for the reopening of the post office in Gressenhall. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

After seven months of struggling with a two-hour a week outreach service, the Post Office counter in Gressenhall stores is set to open for two full days a week from January.

The facility was closed in April for 'operational reasons' according to the Post Office and was supposed to be a temporary measure but weeks and months passed with no news of a replacement service.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman met villagers soon after the closure and has been pushing the Post Office to reinstate the counter as soon as possible.

Many of the elderly said they used it as a community outreach as well as for its postal services.

But this week Mr Freeman revealed he had confirmation from the Post Office that the opening hours would be extended.

In an email Laura Tarling, public affairs manager for the Post Office, told him: 'Our temporary postmaster has now agreed terms with the shop owner in terms of operating a Post Office service from their premises.

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'We have now also tested the equipment that is currently on site but unfortunately it has now archived and will need to be replaced with a new processor.

'New equipment has been ordered and we are planning to commence the extended opening hours at the Post Office in January for two days per week. A pre-Christmas date was our preference but the equipment order lead in time is likely to take installation to the end of December.'

Hamish Mackinlay, who lives in the village, said they were delighted with the news but hoped it would lead to a full five-day a week service in the future.

'We continued to put pressure on the Post Office when I think they were hoping we would go away quietly,' he said. 'It is a shame about the delay, you would think if they were meaning to reopen they would have inspected the equipment before now. But we got our voices heard and they had to take notice of us, even though it took seven months. Two days a week is a good start and the village is very happy about it.'

Mr Freeman said he had been extremely concerned about the extended closure of the service.

'Our rural post offices are crucial hubs that many people depend upon,' he said.

'After extensive discussions with the Post Office I have been advised that the service should be reinstated for two days per week, however it is a case of 'believing it when I see it', as the Post Office have been delaying on finding any real solution for some time.'

* What do you think? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.