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Ipswich's Heath News unlikely to re-open as newsagents and Post Office after new plans submitted

PUBLISHED: 14:53 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 February 2018

Heath Road Post Office closed suddenly. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

Heath Road Post Office closed suddenly. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

Archant

A Post Office and newsagents which suddenly closed last summer looks unlikely to re-open, as plans have been lodged to turn it into a financial services office.

Heath Road Post Office closed suddenly. Picture: EMILY TOWNSENDHeath Road Post Office closed suddenly. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

In June last year, Heath News in Ipswich suddenly closed when staff and customers turned up for work to find the doors shut and a sign in the window merely saying ‘closed’.

Staff and customers reported that there had been no warning of its closure, which also meant the Post Office counter inside was unable to open.

It has not been disclosed as to why the shop closed, but it has failed to re-open since then.

On Thursday, Ipswich Borough Council received a planning application from Heath Properties Ltd, which proposes to replace the shop front, and change the use of the building from retail (post office) to financial and professional services.

The sign in the window at Heath News, which appeared shortly after its sudden closure in 2017. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe sign in the window at Heath News, which appeared shortly after its sudden closure in 2017. Picture: GREGG BROWN

It is not yet clear which firm is looking to occupy the unit, but it means it is now considered unlikely to re-open as a newsagents and post office.

The plans are in the consultation phase and due to go before planners in April, but it is understood there is not any opposition at this stage.

Following the closure, Post Office confirmed it was reviewing its services in the east Ipswich area, and in the meantime urged customers to use the counter at the Woodbridge Road East of England Co-op store or the Penzance Road Post Office.

In October, Post Office said it was seeking another home.

A spokeswoman from Post Office said: “We are still committed to providing a Post Office in the Heath Road area of Ipswich. The vacancy is advertised on our website www.runapostoffice.co.uk or phone 0845 266 8790 for details.

“Alternative branches in the area include Rushmere Heath, Queens Way, Cauldwell Hall Road and Selkirk Road.”

It has not been revealed what support, if any, had been given to existing staff, but the Post Office counter staff were employed by the postmaster at Heath News and not by Post Office directly, meaning the firm was unable to offer staff alternative positions.

The building had previously also run as a toyshop upstairs, first by Toymaster and then by Toyworld, before it was decided to focus solely as a newsagents and Post Office.

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