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Newbury's 126-year-old Post Office building could reopen as Royal Mail submits plans

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The 19th-century Post Office building in Cheap Street could return to its former glory after Royal Mail submitted plans to use it as its customer service hub.

The historic building, which was built in 1895-96, has been unused since April 2017 after the Post Office moved to a new branch inside WH Smith in Northbrook Street.

Now, the building could be brought back to life again after Royal Mail put in a planning application to relocate its customer service counter from its current site on Bear Lane to the Grade-II listed building.

The historic building in Cheap Street when it was still open as a Post Office.
The historic building in Cheap Street when it was still open as a Post Office.

The inside of the building would be refurbished and reconfigured to create an open plan layout with a new customer service point counter.

On the outside, the application states that “in order to maximise parking spaces, we have removed one vehicle entrance and proposed to install a new wall continuing along the line of the existing boundary wall”.

There will be new external branded signage and new callers’ signage to show where the new customer service point will be.

The proposals would breathe new life into the old building, which has stood empty for four-and-a-half years after the Post Office’s relocation.

The move was done to create a “modern open-plan branch for customers” and to “ensure the branch is commercially viable into the future”.

The Post Office was one of many across the region threatened with closure in 2004, but petitions and protests helped to keep it open.

Work on the Post Office building started in the summer of 1895 and the foundation stone was laid in November that year.

An extension to the original building – which included a telephone exchange – was made around 1929 by Hoskings & Pond.

Further extensions were added in the mid- and late-20th century.

Royal Mail's new plans for the building will now go to West Berkshire Council for consideration.

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