Artful Codger, by Roger May, February 6, 2015

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The decision to relocate the Post Office in The Woottons to the Talking Heads salon at St Augustine’s Way is a triumph for local opinion, but it does beg the question: Why was it proposed to move it to the Grange Estate in the first place?

The Post Office will tell us they follow a lengthy criteria when deciding on re-locating a branch office, presumably drawn up with the aim of finding the best possible site.

So how did they come up with a proposed replacement that was not even in South Wootton and was on the other side of a busy major road well away from the main Woottons development?

And just to add insult to injury, they chose a site with relatively limited access from the Woottons, on narrow, built-up roads, leading to a site with poor parking?

How did officials come to this decision when there was an obvious site (or two, if you consider the Asda supermarket site at Langley Road) much more convenient to the people in the Woottons, and with better parking than that already available on what is a busy route at the current Nursery Lane premises?

They should be held to account, or at least be made to explain why they came to their decision to originally go for the Grange Estate site.

The reason they did not get away with this monumental boob is because of the huge level of uproar that was raised in the Woottons area, both by local residents and the parish council – and with the intervention of local MP Henry Bellingham.

Now the Woottons, despite their status as villages with parish councils, do have a considerable population, which gives them the necessary clout to shout loud enough to be able to make an impact and create waves in high places, should the situation demand it.

But if a similar situation was to occur in one of the smaller villages in West Norfolk, the locals could easily lose their post office if it was shifted away to another bigger community nearby, using the Post Office’s seemingly-flawed criteria.

It’s surely time for the Post Office to scrutinise their rules regarding this issue. Given the number of small communities in West Norfolk – and indeed the number of small post offices lost over the years – perhaps this is something that district councils, both locally and nationally, need to address, as it is a matter that affects the very fabric of rural life.

The communities of the Woottons should be rightly proud of their efforts, but the experience should make them aware of the constant threats all around them.

In fact there is trouble already looming on the horizon with the proposed major housing developments planned for the area.