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Lyme Regis Post Office facing imminent closure
LYME Regis Post Office is facing imminent closure and could be shut within the next few weeks.
The current sub post master Leslie Gilbert said he intends to end his association with the post office but hasn’t given a firm date yet.
Town councillors considered a report on the closure of the business in Broad Street at last night’s strategy and policy committee meeting following failed discussions between Post Office Ltd and local businesses to move the franchise into a counter-style service at another premises in the town.
It is understood the reason Post Office Ltd are struggling to find a new franchisee is because they have changed the business model on offer so that anybody taking it on would no longer be paid a set fee but only be paid in commission, estimated to be between £40,000 and £45,000.
Talks have taken place between Lyme Regis Town Council, West Dorset District Council, Post Office Ltd and the current operator to consider if the councils could help in relocating the post office, but so far without success.
Town clerk John Wright said: “A post office is an essential part of Lyme’s infrastructure and important to the well-being of its community.
“Running Post Office counter services isn’t a district or town council function, it’s a business we know little about and could consume a disproportionate amount of management time.
“These constitute significant risks, particularly to a town council with limited resources.”
Tony Colston, chairman of the Lyme Regis Business Group, said he thought the potential closure would be a ‘negative move’.
He said: “A lot of elderly residents and small business rely on the services it provides. It would mean traipsing out of Lyme Regis to do some relatively small transactions and I would be very sad to see another British institution leave the high street.”
Residents of Lyme Regis have also expressed concerns over the possible closure.
Susan Gayle, who lives in Silver Street, said she thought the potential closure would have a big impact on the town.
She said: “I know a lot of people who collect their pensions from the post office because it is more reassuring and they feel safer than getting it out of the bank, so they would really struggle.”
Tony Budden, 87, from Lyme Regis, uses the post office on a regular basis.
He said: “I think it’s an important service in the town and I don’t know what I would do if it closed.
“I would love to see it stay where it is. A counter service in a shop wouldn’t be good enough.”
John Legg said he thought an area like Lyme Regis needed a post office. He said: “If it was to close it would have a huge impact on the town in my opinion because a lot of elderly people still need access to a post office.”
A spokesman for Post Office Ltd said they were committed to maintaining a service in Lyme Regis and were now seeking applicants to take over the business.