THE future of Hungerford’s post office – and the jobs of its staff – is under threat.
The facility, currently situated in Martin’s newsagents in the High Street, is set to close on April 21.
As previously reported by the Newbury Weekly News, a board above the unit states: ‘To let – may sell.’
At the time, Robert Walker, a spokesman for the parent company of Martin’s newsagent, McColl’s, said that the lease was up for renewal in April and that the landlord was entitled to advertise it six months prior to expiry.
However, he added the company had made no formal decision as to whether it would bid to renew the lease itself but confirmed it was carrying out a “full review” of the situation.
Yesterday, Mr Walker confirmed: “Having explored all options, regretfully we have taken the difficult decision in the past few days not to renew the lease at the Martin’s in Hungerford.
“The store and its post office will continue to trade up to April 21, when they will close.
“We are saddened to no longer be operating the store and our priority is now on consulting with and supporting our colleagues affected by this.
“We’re extremely grateful to our customers who shop with us and will be delighted to continue to serve them in any of our other locations throughout the area.”
A Post Office spokeswoman, Sheila Tapster, said yesterday (Wednesday): “We have just received the resignation from the postmaster for Hungerford Post Office as the McColl’s Retail Group store, where the post office is located, is closing just after Easter.”
She was unable to give a firm commitment for the future but added: “We will be working hard to retain Post Office services in Hungerford.
“The vacancy will now be advertised on our vacancies website.”
Town mayor Martin Crane said: “We’ve been trying to get a commitment from the Post Office but they keep passing us from pillar to post.
“At the moment we have not heard that anyone has applied to take on the licence for the post office.”
He added: “It would probably suit a retail outlet such as Tesco or the Co-op and, in fact, the Co-op has an empty room in the Queen Anne building in the High Street.
“If it is retained in Hungerford, of course, they will still need to keep the staff but the lease runs out in April and that’s not a lot of time to sort things out.”
Meanwhile, alternative branches in the area include Kintbury Post Office in the High Street, Shalbourne Post Office in Kingston Road, Ramsbury Post Office in the village High Street and Great Bedwyn Post Office in Church Street.