The people of Long Lawford could soon be left without a Post Office if plans to demolish the Co-op it operates within go ahead.
The facility is currently run by The Heart of England Co-operative and is based in the company’s Co-op Late store on Townsend Lane.
But the Co-op plans to knock down the building and create a new Co-op Foodstore, offering customers more choice of products and doubling the number of full time staff.
The planning application submitted by the Co-op states that the Post Office is making a loss. And in a statement released this week, the Co-op said the decision had been taken in light of Post Offices Ltd calling for a conversion of exisiting facilities, which would require a substantial investment.
If plans go ahead, people will no longer have a local Post Office, something Long Lawford resident and former Mayor of Rugby, Keith Judge, said would be a ‘crying shame’.
“The Post Office is very important to people around here,” he said.
“A lot of older people rely on it to withdraw their pension, where will they go if it closes?
“It also means the girls who work there will lose their jobs. It is very bad news for the people of Long Lawford.”
If approved, the new Co-op Foodstore would have a small bakery, a larger frozen/chilled area than the current store, 19 parking spaces (an increase of 11) and it would employ four full-time members of staff (an increase of two) and 12 part-time staff (an increase of three).
The new store would also have cash withdrawal machines.
A Heart of England Co-operative spokesperson said the company had decided to close its Post Offices in Long Lawford and Bulkington.
“It is a decision which has not been taken lightly and has been taken in light of a recent move by Post Offices Ltd to call for a conversion of existing facilities in convenience stores as part of their modernisation programme which would require substantial investment,” the spokesperson said.
“Over the years strategic changes within Post Offices Ltd have led to reduced over-the-counter and transactional based services. As a consequence, the Post Office has seen a significant reduction in footfall and income and in recent years has become financially unviable. The Society has now entered a consultation process with members of staff comprising a mix of full and part-time employees to possibly relocate them elsewhere in the Society.”
A Post Office spokesperson said the company was seeking alternative premises.
“We can confirm that The Heart of England Co-op has given us notice that they will no longer be operating the Long Lawford Post Office in Rugby. Customers should be assured that the Post Office is committed to maintaining Post Office services to customers in Rugby and will work hard to ensure this,” the spokesperson said.
“We will be seeking alternative premises for the Post Office so any local retailers interested in this business opportunity should ring 0845 266 8790 and talk to an advisor or email NTquestions@postoffice.co.uk or visit www.runapostoffice.co.uk.”