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Sadness at village shop closure plans

PUBLISHED: 05:38 10 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

A COUPLE who spent three years trying to make their shop and post office a success are closing down because of falling trade.

Former construction manager, Alan Lewis, and wife Judy brought in new products, new chillers and freezers and refurbished the interior of the premises in Ufford near Woodbridge.

A COUPLE who spent three years trying to make their shop and post office a success are closing down because of falling trade.

Former construction manager, Alan Lewis, and wife Judy brought in new products, new chillers and freezers and refurbished the interior of the premises in Ufford near Woodbridge.

But the couple will now apply for the shop and post office to be turned into a residential use after they failed to have enough customers.

Mrs Lewis runs the post office, her husband takes charge in the shop and they live on the premises.

Mr Lewis said: "Due to circumstances totally beyond our control it is with great sadness, despite the total refurbishment of Ufford post office and village store, that we have been unsuccessful in reversing both its economic and social decline."

The couple posted a notice on the village noticeboard and in the magazine explaining their plight.

"Despite now stocking daily a comprehensive fresh choice of fruit and vegetables, the demand is abysmal. The sales of foods from the five new chillers and freezers barely cover their electricity costs.

"Even sales of bread and cakes from the Cakeshop, Woodbridge, are very disappointing and have failed to bring in new custom. And now with the imminent changes and lack of revenue to the post office being instigated by the Government, the situation now is such that it will be impossible for us to continue.

"It is therefore after much heart-searching and with very great sadness and disappointment that we are giving notice of our irreversible closure in the summer."

The couple thanked customers who supported them and added: "But sadly social, economic and political changes, despite our efforts, have succeeded in making yet another village shop and post office a thing of the past."

The couple ran mother and baby shops in Cambridge and at Addenbrooke's Hospital before moving from Ely to Ufford.

Heather Heelis, Ufford parish council clerk, said: "The parish council deeply regret the decision made to close the post office and village shop and are very sad at the general lack of support for the shop and post office from within the community.

"They know that Alan and Judy have not taken this decision lightly and that Ufford may not stand alone following the Government's initiative to withdraw over the counter payments for pensions and benefits."

The earliest record of a postmaster in Lower Ufford was Isaac Lambert in 1844.

Lydia King, a Post Office rural transfer adviser, said customers could still draw money from post offices by taking advantage of a new card account being introduced nationally. This is a basic bank account into which allowances or pensions are paid, and the money can be taken from a post office.

"Every customer who gets their money from a post office can still get it if they want to and there is no need to move any business at all," she stressed.


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