Successful Post Office is bucking trend

AS Post Offices around the country face closure one optimistic owner in Suffolk is bucking the trend.Manish Patel, who owns the Post Office in Shotley, said he was looking forward to the future and even planning an extension of his village shop despite government proposals to close thousands of Post Offices around the country.

AS Post Offices around the country face closure one optimistic owner in Suffolk is bucking the trend.

Manish Patel, who owns the Post Office in Shotley, said he was looking forward to the future and even planning an extension of his village shop despite government proposals to close thousands of Post Offices around the country.

Mr Patel said once the building work had been completed to make the shop bigger he planned to change the shop's opening hours in an attempt to fit around the lives of modern people.

It will soon be open from 7am to 7.30pm, six days a week, and for four or five hours a day on Sundays.


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Mr Patel added: “Too many Post Offices are still in the eighteenth century. The world has moved on since then. I want mine to be for the twenty-first century.

“My parents have been running the shop for 14 years but they want to take it slowly and easy so I'm taking over and I think it's time we made it even better.

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“It is a worrying time for some Post Offices, villages are losing them and they will continue to lose them in the future.”

His decision comes after a government announcement in December that around 2,500 Post Offices were expected to close by 2009 and after the Suffolk village of Somersham lost its Post Office in March.

Mr Patel said: “Hopefully I'm pre-empting any danger that Shotley Post Office may have faced. This is what I believe my customers want.”

He said he had already been granted planning permission for the extensions to the Post Office in The Street in Shotley.

He added that the work would start at the end of this month and should be finished by the first week of September. For two weeks during the summer the shop will have to be closed while work is carried out.

A spokesman for the Post Office Ltd, which is project managing Mr Patel's refurbishment, said: “We are happy to be able to support Mr Patel in his refurbishment of the branch and change to an open-plan format.

“We would urge customers to use the branch as much as possible, particularly with the extended opening hours.”

Would you like to see more Post Offices opening for longer? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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