Post Office customers in Ely will have to put up with queuing in a car park long into the new year after plans to move into a convenience store in the city were quietly dropped.

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When it moved into a temporary building in the Paradise Centre car park in November, the Post Office said that it hoped to be in new premises shortly after Christmas, but the delay is now expected to last long into 2014.

It had been planned for the Post Office to move into the Premier Convenience store, in High Street, but officials said they dropped those plans following feedback during the public consultation process.

The consultation revealed concerns among the public about a lack of space in the store.

Julia Marwood, Post Office regional network manager, said: “Rest assured we are working extremely hard to find a permanent solution.

“We want to ensure we get the right premises to provide post office services on a permanent basis in Ely as we understand how important having a post office is to local residents.

“We would welcome the opportunity to talk to Ely retailers about the possibility of incorporating the post office into their retail business.

“We are taking a fresh look at the situation and we are working hard to find the best available solution, whether that is one or two post offices in Ely.

“I know the recent period of uncertainty has been causing concern to our customers and I apologise for this and for any inconvenience caused.”

Mrs Marwood said that officials would now “go back to the drawing board” to find a permanent home for the city’s branch.

Sir Jim Paice, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, said the situation was “not good enough”.

He said: “This is very disappointing news. Post Office have known for months that, thankfully, Lloyds had given notice. Whilst the provision in Lloyds was wholly inadequate Ely deserves more than a portacabin.

“It really is not good enough that they should have been so slow to process the one application for the licence only to find that it could not be accepted. “I urge local businesses and business groups to think hard about whether here is an opportunity to do something for the whole community and open a post office of which Ely can be proud.”

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