Friday, 24 September 2021

Village’s post office and shop shut down

THE post office and shop in Checkendon was closed yesterday (Thursday).

THE post office and shop in Checkendon was closed yesterday (Thursday).

The decision by postmaster Bal Budesha to shut comes after an unsuccessful attempt to sell the business or relocate it to the former Four Horseshoes pub in the village, which closed in 2013.

In August he said he would not close the business in Whitehall Lane until a new post office service had been secured.

Mr Budesha has been given planning permission by South Oxfordshire District Council to demolish the shop and replace it with a house. He already had permission to convert the property into a three- or four-bedroom home.

It was hoped the post office could be relocated to the old pub, which is owned by Brakspear, but this required a new business to take over the tenancy.

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

Parish clerk Claire Dunk said: “Sadly, this will leave Checkendon without any retail or post office facilities.

“Attempts over the last 18 months to start a new business in part of the old Four Horseshoes public house have not come to fruition and we have seen the withdrawal of the two applicants.

“We would like to thank Bal Budesha for his efforts and Tom Davies, chief executive of Brakspear, for his patience and time in trying to facilitate this by offering to lease part of the premises. Sadly, all parties recognise that this is now not going to happen.

“Although we have seen no official notification yet from post office counters, we have made them aware of the situation and are trying to facilitate an outreach post office for the village.

“This will involve a postmaster coming for a couple of hours a week to set up a mobile post office in secure premises with internet facilities. The Equestrian Centre has kindly offered its premises, though we are duty bound to explore all options.”

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