The future of a suburban post office in Preston has been secured after permission was granted for it to stay in the temporary home where it has been based for almost two years.Advertisement
Cottam Post Office was driven out of its long-established premises on Hoyles Lane by flooding in November 2021. It later reopened as a mobile unit within Cottam Community Centre, where it has remained ever since.
The outlet – which recently saw a new couple take the helm, after the previous operators departed after 22 years – has now been told by Preston City Council that it can become a permanent fixture at the community facility on Haydocks Lane.
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The shop where it used to be based has since been sold and the new owner was not planning to reinstate a Post Office counter.
Cottam Community Centre chair Trevor Hart – who is also one of the city councillors for the Ingol and Cottam ward – said it was vital for locals to retain access to the service on their doorstep.
“I know that the residents of Cottam are delighted, [because] they have been talking to us for some time, saying that they hoped we could [keep] it. It’s in an ideal location, right in the centre of Cottam – and with parking – so it’s good news all round.
“It’s very well-used and [has become] a hub – because they do lots of other things as well as being a post office. They’re just trying to ensure that they serve the community with what they want.
“An outside door will soon be opened up, so they’ll have their own entrance – and then it will be operating as a separate set-up, rather than [customers] having to go through the community centre, which will be a lot better.
“The community centre and the community itself have worked hard to try and provide them with premises and to work through getting the planning permission to make it all possible,” Cllr Hart added.
The post office will be open from 8.30am until 5.30pm on weekdays and between 9am and 1pm on Saturdays.
City council planning officers concluded that proposal was “appropriate” for the area.
A report outlining the authority’s decision stated: “Whilst the change of use has resulted in the loss of a meeting room at the community centre, the loss is considered to be small scale and limited to one internal room, with the majority of the building within the Cottam Community Centre being retained for its [current] function.
“Additionally, it is considered that [a]…postal service for the local community…complements the existing community facility use.
“The planning statement also notes that the former meeting room had minimal use, prior to it being utilised for the post office and that there has been no negative impact on the community [centre] since the post office has been located within it.”
Other local premises were sought for the facility, but no suitable alternative could be found, the report added.
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