Marshland Smeeth Post Office to close after West Norfolk Council's green light for new home
DWINDLING trade and violent attacks have prompted a couple to close their remote village post office and store and build a new home for themselves on the site. John and Janis Davies will close Marshland Smeeth Post Office in March, and the shop in the sum
DWINDLING trade and violent attacks have prompted a couple to close their remote village post office and store and build a new home for themselves on the site.
John and Janis Davies will close Marshland Smeeth Post Office in March, and the shop in the summer, following approval by West Norfolk Council Development Control Board.
In place of their prefabricated home and shop they will be allowed to build a bungalow for their son and an annexe for themselves.
"We care about the village and its future of which we would dearly like to be a part of," Mr Davies told council planners.
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"This is why we are hoping to build our retirement home here and in doing so help our son, wife and young family to return to the village they were raised in."
He said a private income over the years has "financially ensured the shelves being stocked" but the shop could not remain competitive in today's marketplace.
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He told councillors that after 22 years running the business, he and his wife had also had enough of the risks to their personal safety.
"Violent crime has been experienced by my family," he said. "We have been the victims of seven attempted break-ins and robberies.
"Of these, four were armed robberies. My wife, on one occasion, was hospitalised with severe bruising to her body due to being attached with a crowbar."
"I'm constantly aware of how vulnerable I am in the Post Office environment as crime becomes more prevalent."
Marshland St James Parish Council recommended approval of the proposals but wondered if a post office counter could be re-located.
Planning officer Kevin Wilkinson felt it was a finely balanced decision but felt consent should be refused to test the market for others wanting to acquire the property.