Wednesday, 18 October 2017

I’ll stay until I’m replaced, insists postmaster

A VILLAGE postmaster says he will not close his business until a new service is secured.

A VILLAGE postmaster says he will not close his business until a new service is secured.

Bal Budesha has applied for planning permission to demolish Checkendon stores and post office and replace it with a house.

He already has permission to convert the property into a three-or four-bedroom home.

His application says he “seeks to replace the extended chalet bungalow with long, narrow front and rear extensions to a more proportioned single family dwelling of modest proportions and height, sitting mainly within the footprint of the existing dwelling.”

Mr Budesha has been trying to sell the business in Whitehall Lane for more than three years without  success.



It is hoped the post office could be relocated to the former Four Horseshoes pub, which is owned by Brakspear, but this requires a new business to take over the tenancy.

Mr Budesha said: “Brakspear and Checkendon post office have worked closely within the community, invested their time with planning and making the Four Horseshoes available for the relocation since last July.

“Having discussed it in depth with Brakspear, and with the ongoing pressure from the village, we are now both in a position to move this project forward by advertising the tenancy on the Four Horseshoes.

“This will allow the relocation of the post office and village shop and then the possibility of expanding to a tea/coffee and sandwich shop.

“I’m not going to close the current shop and go. I’m looking for a tenancy for the Four Horseshoes so we can relocate, hand over and support them for the first three months.

“I want to live in the village â?? I want a post office and I want a shop.”

The Main Street pub was set to be turned into tea rooms by Hannah Knight, a new business specialist, and Dee Biberian, a musician and landscape gardener, from London.

But the negotiations slowed after Ms Knight decided not to include a post office in the business plan, to the annoyance of villagers.

Tom Davies, chief executive of the pub company, said it was still searching for a tenant for the pub, which ceased trading in 2013.

Checkendon Parish Council says it has “no strong views” on Mr Budesha’s latest application.

Parish clerk Claire Dunk has said previously that the Post Office cannot attempt to provide an outreach facility until the postmaster has resigned. She said: “We can request that an outreach service be put in place. This involves a postmaster from a nearby post office travelling to the village with a laptop and basic financial  services.

“This would be very limited, only a few hours a week, but vital to those who are unable to travel outside the village.”

Meanwhile, the Four Horseshoes has been nominated as an asset of community value.

This would mean the owner must give the community six months to come up with an offer to buy it before it goes on the open market, although it doesn’t have to accept a bid.

South Oxfordshire District Council is set to make a decision on Mr Budesha’s application by August 24.

Anyone interested in running the post office business with a tea room at the pub should call him on (01491) 682109 or email bal@budesha.co.uk



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