Post office to expand services as part of changes to village store at Orford

Penny Teale wants to convert part of her Orford General Store into two new flats.

Penny Teale wants to convert part of her Orford General Store into two new flats. - Credit: Archant

Major changes are in the pipeline for a shop and post office at the heart of its community.

Planning permission is being sought to cut the size of Orford General Store, which includes a tea room and butchery, to allow part of the building to become two new flats.

But the shop in Pump Street is not closing – and the post office will be offering an improved service.

Owner Penny Teale has applied to Suffolk Coastal council to convert part of the general store, which in 2011 was shortlisted for a Countryside Alliance award for its role in the community, to a one-bedroom studio flat and a three-bed flat to add to existing residential accommodation within the building.

It will mean the loss of 95sq m of shop floorspace and 35sq m used in connection with the tea rooms.

According to papers submitted to the council, it will also mean the loss of one of the four full-time jobs and four of the five part-time jobs at the premises.

However, it will allow for a modernisation of the post office and the creation of a combination counter, where the Post Office’s terminal will sit beside the retail till and be available seven days a week during the store’s opening hours, Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 5.30pm and Sunday 10 am to 4pm.

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This will mean an extra 14.5 hours a week more than currently offered, including all-day Sunday and Saturday afternoon. The branch will also open earlier every day.

James Doran, Post Office area manager said: “We know how important Post Office services are to residents in Orford and we are confident this vibrant new-style Post Office at the heart of the community will be popular.

“The modernisation is part of a major Government investment programme enabling us to continue investing in the Post Office network and to map out a bold growth strategy to the end of the decade.”

Mr Doran said the work on the post office changes will be carried out this month – ahead of the decision on planning permission for other changes to the 19th Century property.

The branch will close for refurbishment from 5.30pm on Monday, January 26 and reopen on Monday, February 2 at 1pm.

During the work, post office services will be available at Rendlesham Post Office or Hollesley Post Office.