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Village set to lose post office and shop
Published 06/05/14

A VILLAGE could lose its post office with plans to convert it into a house.

Bal Budesha, who runs the village store and post office in Checkendon, has applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for a change of use to a three- or four- bedroom home.

The move comes months after the village’s Four Hourshoes pub was closed.

At present, the property in Whitehall Lane comprises the post office, shop and a mail sorting room as well as three-bedroom house with a garage.

Mr Budesha says he has been trying to sell the business for more than two years but has had no interest.

In the planning application, a letter from agent David Parker Architects says: “The current owner has tried to make the post office viable for seven years but cannot continue and has been unsuccessful selling the house and post office as a commercial property.”

There are three post offices less than two miles from Checkendon in Stoke Row, Woodcote and Ipsden.

The Post Office has considered an alternative of a weekly post office van visiting the village, similar to the service provided for Benson.

Mr Budesha, who runs the business with his wife Hayley, told a meeting of Checkendon Parish Council that the business was “not proving viable” and the couple would be unable to continue.

A report of the meeting in the Checkendon Village Newsletter says: “They informed the council that therefore they would shortly be seeking outline planning permission for residential use.The parish council suggested that they seek pre-planning advice on any application.”

Last week, the Henley Standard reported that the vacant Four Horseshoes could be turned into a house or be re-opened with a post office.

Brakspear, which owns the pub, said it had spoken to Mr Budusha.

Chief executive Tom Davies said: “One of the options is looking at the possibility of incorporating a post office there. At the moment it’s very much a germ of an idea.”Mr Budesha said this week: “We’re in negotiation over relocation within the village.”

Consultation on the planning application has begun and the district council plans to make a decision by June 2.

Suzanne Malcolm, the district council’s economic development manager, said: “I appreciate the difficulties that the owners have faced in respect of this property and understand that they have been unable to sell the property as residential and commercial premises despite considerable marketing effort.

“I also understand the difficulties faced in making the operation a viable concern. “However, it is disappointing to see the loss of the post office facility from this village but I do recognise that several of the surrounding villages have such facilities.”

Meanwhile, plans by Brakspear to turn the former Dog and Duck pub on the B481 at Highmoor into a six-bedroom house have been approved by the district council.

The pub shut in December 2011 and was put up for sale for 495,000 plus VAT by Brakspear three months later. The company said the pub was “unviable”.

Published 06/05/14

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