Post Office confirms plan to open temporarily in portable building in Ely

Ely Post Office, High Street

Ely Post Office, High Street - Credit: Archant

The Post Office has confirmed that a portable building next week will become its home in Ely for the rest of the year.

It comes after Lloyds Pharmacy, which runs Ely’s post office, decided to not renew its lease on the High Street shop.

A new home has been found for the post office in the city centre, at Premier Convenience, but a Post Office spokesman said the arrangements are being finalised “with the aim to open at this location early in the new year”.

In the meantime - as we revealed last month - the Post Office will relocate to a portable building in the Paradise Leisure Centre car park, in Newnham Street.

A Post Office spokesman said: “Post Office Ltd has been working extremely hard to maintain post office services in Ely after Lloyds Pharmacy, which runs Ely post office, advised us that it would not be renewing the lease on the property at 19 High Street.

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“The Lloyds Pharmacy lease is due to expire on November 17. However, we have managed to get a small extension to allow this branch to remain open until November 20 at 5.30pm.

“We have worked very closely with East Cambridgeshire District Council to find a short-term solution until the move to the convenience store.

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“A post office portable building will be based in the council’s Paradise Leisure Centre Car Park, Newnham Street, Ely.

“It will open on November 25 at 9am. There will be four counter positions, offering the same wide range of products and the same opening hours as currently. It is approximately 500 metres from the current location.

“Unfortunately, there cannot be a seamless continuity of service as we need to conduct an audit and relocate the Post Office’s equipment into the temporary post office.”

Alternative post offices available next week, while Ely’s post office is unavailable, include:

• Witchford Post Office, 114 Main Street, Witchford, and

• Stretham Post Office, 45 High Street, Stretham

Once open, the new Ely post office will have five serving positions - two open-plan, two screened counters and a serving point at the retail counter. The serving point means customers can access certain services and products alongside retail transactions outside of the usual Post Office operating hours.

Julia Marwood, Post Office regional network manager, said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Ely. It was not Post Office Ltd’s decision to close the service at Lloyd’s Pharmacy, but longer term I am confident that customers will be very happy with their clean, modern Post Office when it moves to the Premier Convenience Store.

“We regret that there will be a short break in the provision of Post Office services. However, through lots of hard work and negotiations we have managed to limit the temporary closure of the service to two-and-a-half days before the new building is available for use.

“While we accept winter is not the ideal time for customers to visit a portable building I am sure that customers would prefer this arrangement than no Post Office service in Ely until the permanent relocation is finalised and we have a Post Office to be proud of.

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

Lloyds Pharmacy has secured permission to relocate from the High Street to St Mary’s GP Surgery. The council’s planning committee approved the plans after councillors were told the pharmacy will enhance the service that the surgery gives patients.

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