Eye post office has now permanently closed. In recent years the village has also lost both its independent bakery and butchers. It will probably be the elderly and residents without transport that are affected the most. There has been a post office on this location for over 40 years and this is the first time I’ve known the village to be without one*. The current owners have been running the post office for around 25 years and although they have tried to sell the property as an ongoing business this hasn’t been successful. As reported in the Evening Telegraph “store turnover has fallen from £204,750 a year in 2016 to £187,781 a year since the arrival of a Co-op across the road, while Post Office income has dropped from £38,873 to £20,533 over the same period”. Many services are now online such as car tax and it has taken its toll on the rural post office. Plans have now been submitted to convert the building into a fully residential property.
Changes in consumer habits are just one cause of the reduction in income. In 2012 the Post Office was separated from the Royal Mail which was privatised the following year. Postmasters used to receive a set fee from the government for providing the service but this is being switched to variable payment for most, based on the number and kind of transactions they handle. At the same time, more people are using online or alternative services which are reducing the number of transactions.
The Post Office also gets a subsidy from the government. This has been cut from £210m in 2012 to £70m in 2017/2018 and is due to be phased out in 2021. The government has now said they will keep the subsidy for community post offices, although it is an if. “Post office minister Kelly Tolhurst told MPs that the Government will provide extra funding if it is needed to keep the branches open.” You could argue though, why is the government subsidising what is essentially a Ltd. company…
- Post Office boss receives 7% pay rise as postmaster salaries cut
- Post Office past ‘tipping point’ as reinvention fails to deliver
- Lifeline for 3,000 rural post offices: Minister vows to continue £50million annual subsidy for ‘vital’ services
The Post Office is hoping to find another home for the service in the village and has advertised on the runapostoffice.co.uk website. Closing date is 13 September 2020. The post office website site says “it can take between seven months to a year from the moment your application is submitted to your brand new branch opening its doors to customers” so don’t expect anything soon. New owners and anyone employed to operate the service will also have to complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check and there are a series of training and engagement programmes that need to be completed. You may also need to use your own money as a surety. Any aspiring postmasters may want to check out the links at the bottom of this page.
Providing post office services in a retail establishment can increase footfall. If no-one comes forward one option for Eye would be to have an ‘outreach‘ service such as nearby Thorney. The Thorney service is run in one of the local community buildings but opening times and services are limited.
The shop that hosts the Post Office will close on Sunday 20 October 2019.
Update September 2020: The retail part of the old post office is available to let at £11,500 per annum. This excludes the flat above.
The post offices that are closest to Eye are:
Other post offices:
- Crowland Post Office, 7 North St, Crowland, Peterborough PE6 0EG (Number 37 bus stops in Crowland (£5.10 for a return))
- Werrington Green Post Office, 2 The Green, Peterborough PE4 6RU
- Peterborough Post Office, W.H.Smiths, 32-36 Bridge St, Peterborough PE1 1DH (a 15 minutes walk from the closest bus stop that village buses stop at (£4.50 for Day Rider)).
- Peterborough Post Office closes as plans submitted to convert it for residential use
- Post Office appeals to retailers in Eye to host branch in their store after recent closure
- What Is The Future Of UK Post Offices?
- Post Office closures: 2,500 could be closing around the UK – here’s what you need to know
*There was once a post office on the corner of Hodney Road and on Crowland Road which is now part of the House of Feasts.