Hopes post office will stay in Boxford shop
- Credit: Archant
Hopes of keeping a post office in what is thought to be Britain’s oldest shop have been raised after the building’s new owner agreed in principle to continue to accommodate the facility.
A bid by villagers to club together to buy the Grade II-Listed premises in Swan Street, Boxford, when it was put on the market last May was unsuccessful.
However, according to Babergh councillor for the area Bryn Hurren, the building which currently houses a general store and post office have now been purchased by a private buyer.
The property initially attracted interest on a national scale because its use as a shop dates back to 1420. Boxford also boasts what is believed to be the UK’s oldest garage, Riddelsdell Brothers Ltd.
Mr Hurren said: “Boxford Post Office will remain but it’s not yet clear whether it will be in the current location or somewhere else in the village.
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“We are working with the new owner and we have a meeting next week to discuss options. The owner has bought it as a residence but is willing to rent the shop out at a reasonable rate. Another business will have to be found to operate out of the rest of the building alongside the post office and we are currently looking at options.”
Boxford already has a general store which was taken over by a young couple, Kunal and Komal Odedra, last year when the previous owner Joy Stowe retired after owning it for 15 years and working in it for more than half a century.
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In March last year, the village newsagents closed down after its owners failed to find a buyer to take it on as a going concern. The premises have now been split in two and one has reopened as an antiques shop.
Mr Hurren said at a meeting to discuss the possibility of running a community shop from the post office premises, no-one seemed willing to rise to the challenge.
He added: “I think ideally the post office should remain in the building to keep a good enough range of businesses in the village to attract a broad range of shoppers.
“Because the Post Office these days is all about hard business, it also needs people to use it and the other shops on a regular basis. If people want shops to be there when there is six inches of snow on the ground then they need to use them all year round.”
Sub-postmaster Richard Gates, who has worked at the Boxford post office for 22 years said Post Office Limited had pledged to keep a post office running in the village, whatever the eventual outcome with the Swan Street premises.
He added: “We are the only post office within a six-mile radius and it is very well used.”