THE future of Lyme Regis Post Office remains unclear after no replacement was found for the current sub-postmaster.
The branch in Broad Street has faced the threat of imminent closure in recent months after sub-postmaster Les Gilbert told the Post Office Ltd he wanted to leave as the business was not profitable and he was losing money.
But now Mr Gilbert said he would remain as the sub-postmaster in Lyme Regis, to guarantee the future of the branch in the ‘short to medium term’, but would not put a definitive timescale on his plans.
Mr Gilbert said: “We are currently going through the process of making changes to our other two stores in Chard and South Chard. There have been some changes made to the Network Transformation Programme which sets out how we run the post offices, and they are quite complex.
“We have worked through them for the other two stores but we haven’t seen what effect it will have on the Lyme Regis branch. The future of the branch is that Post Office Ltd wants to keep a branch in Lyme Regis but at the moment they haven’t been able to find anyone willing to take it on or come up with a proposal suitable for us.
“In the short to medium term, the branch is safe and will remain open but after that we are not so sure.
“We have been looking at the Lyme branch and there is not much more we can do to make it profitable for us and if there is an opportunity I haven’t thought of it yet. If something happens out of the blue that makes it profitable for us we would carry on, but it doesn’t look that way at the moment.”
A spokesman for Post Office Limited said: “The sub-postmaster at Lyme Regis Post Office has expressed an interest in leaving the network. We are working with him to ensure that, until a permanent solution is found, the branch will remain open and trading. We will keep people informed if there is any change to this.
“Customers should be assured that the Post Office is committed to maintaining a Post Office service in Lyme Regis and will work hard to ensure we continue to have a physical presence at the heart of the community. If this involves a relocation of the Post Office, it would be subject to a full public consultation."
Coun Mark Gage is in favour of keeping the post office in the town, and said: “It is absolutely fantastic news that the post office is staying for the short to medium term. It is such a vitally important service and it should be seen as a service and not as a commercial operation.
“I am pleased for the time being at least that they have been able to secure it and now hope that all the parties involved put their heads together and do all they can to secure its long term future.”