Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Post Office services return with mobile van’s twice weekly visits

Post Office services return with mobile van’s twice weekly visits

POST Office services are returning to Woodcote after a year’s absence.

A mobile unit will visit the lay-by at St Leonard’s Church in South Stoke Road from 1.15pm to 3.15pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

The van, which made its first visit on Monday, offers a range of services, including the collection of cash benefits and Post Office banking services.

Parking will be available in the surrounding bays and the site is about a five-minute walk from the old post office counter at Chana Stores in Woodcote Road, which shut on May 26 last year. The van has a step-free access for wheelchair users and disabled customers.

In a letter to residents, the Post Office’s area network manager Carlos Pereira said: “I know the local community will join me in welcoming this good news and hope that you and our customers will continue to use the facility.”

Geoff Botting, vice-chairman of Woodcote Parish Council, said: “It’s brilliant news and we’re really pleased. The lack of a post office was a very real concern.”

He and Henley MP John Howell campaigned for a replacement service. Councillor Botting said: “We put a lot of effort into bringing it back. It has been an uphill struggle but hopefully people will be glad.

“Ideally we’d have a permanent home but for as long as we don’t we may as well have this.

“However, the parish council will continue pushing for something more permanent and will do whatever it can to identify a suitable location.”

The closure of the old counter is thought to have stemmed from a disagreement between the Chana family, who run the grocery shop and café, and Post Office Ltd, over working hours and conditions.

Efforts were made to open a new counter at another venue and it is understood that several other businesses in the village were approached but no agreement was reached.

The Post Office still hopes that a permanent location can be found.

The Chanas also ran the part-time counter at Stoke Row village store, which was replaced in March by a mobile service at the village hall which also serves RAF Benson, Checkendon and Nettlebed.

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