Community’s delight as plan to move South Wootton Post Office is scrapped

Community leaders are celebrating victory after plans to relocate a village post office were abandoned.

Hundreds of people voiced their opposition to the proposal to move the South Wootton post office from its current site in Nursery Lane to Grange Stores in Dawnay Avenue, Gaywood.

And Post Office officials announced on Friday that the scheme was being scrapped, meaning that the service will remain in its current home for the time being.

Will Russell, the company’s regional network manager, said: “After careful consideration of all relevant factors, including the responses we received as part of the consultation process, we have decided not to proceed with the proposed move.”

Almost 400 people took part in the consultation, while concerns were also expressed by Consumer Futures, the network’s customer watchdog.

The major sticking points surrounded the distance from the village to the new site and the difficulties faced by less mobile customers, who would have to cross a busy road in order to get to the site.

However, the company said there was support for the extended opening times and expanded services that had been proposed as part of the move.

And it has pledged that a fresh consultation exercise will take place if any new relocation plan is drawn up in the future.

Peter Lee, the current sub-postmaster, who had been planning to retire when the service moved, declined to comment on the Post Office’s change of heart.

But South Wootton parish council chairman David Price said he was delighted at the move.

His council, together with those of North Wootton and Castle Rising, joined forces last month to fight the proposal.

And he said: “It just shows people power has worked and it’s good to know that the views of local people are being taken into account.”

Mr Price is due to meet with Post Office officials today to discuss the reasons for the decision to abandon the plan.

And he hopes that alternative options for the post office, including the Talking Heads hair salon in North Wootton and the Asda store in South Wootton, may now be looked at again.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham also welcomed the decision to leave the service where it is for the moment and said it “made sense” to re-open consultations now.

He added: “I also one hundred per cent support the parish council and local residents in their determination to find a site for the new post office that is much more central.”