There was victory for people power this week when the Post Office finally agreed to locate a community branch exactly where residents wanted it.
After months of campaigning and public consultation, bosses have agreed to relocate South Wootton Post Office from its current site in Nursery Lane to the Talking Heads hairdressing salon in St Augustine’s Way, North Wootton.
The move comes after the Post Office scrapped its original plan to move the service to Grange Stores in Dawnay Avenue, Gaywood – over half a mile away – following opposition from residents and parish councillors last year.
A Post Office spokesman said this week’s decision to relocate to North Wootton came after a huge amount of support for the proposal.
He said: “We received a large number of comments from customers and local representatives during the public consultation period. The feedback was mainly in support of the move, with customers welcoming the convenient and central location, better parking and more spacious premises that would be available following the change.”
South Wootton parish council chairman David Price said: “Obviously we’re delighted that this is taking place. We indicated what we would like to see happen before Christmas, and during the consultation period the parish council encouraged people to support the transfer to Talking Heads.
“It now seems that was the case as the Post Office received an overwhelming response in support of it.”
He said the only disappointment with the announcement is that an opening date has yet to be finalised.
“A certain amount of reorganisation will be required, with new fixtures and fitting, and no doubt some staff training, but hopefully it will open as soon as possible,” he said.
Jo Wright, owner of Talking Heads, said: “I’m really happy with the decision. I’m really looking forward to doing it and serving the community.”
North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, who has been working with the Post Office and the local community on the transfer, said he was “delighted” with the decision.
He said: “This really is superb news for the local community and furthermore, Talking Heads is in a good central location with plenty of car parking spaces. I would like to thank the Post Office for carrying out a second consultation on this and for listening to the views of the people.”
He also said he was pleased the new store will be a main style Post Office branch, with longer opening hours.
He said: “It will have level access through a wide door at the entrance of the store and although there are some concerns about the increased level of traffic in the area, the longer opening hours are a welcome boost to the area.”
The branch will be open Monday, Tuesday and Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm, Wednesday from 9am to 7.30pm and Thursday and Friday from 9am to 6.30pm – offering customers an extra nine hours of post office services every week.