Post Office customers in Ely have been shocked that the city’s only branch has been mysteriously shut since yesterday.
Meanwhile a permanent postmaster has STILL not been found for Ely – eight months after the last one lost his contract.
Yesterday (Monday) morning a notice went up in the Costcutter in Ely, saying “problem with locks will re-open this afternoon”.
Shortly after the Costcutter opened but the Post Office remained closed.
A second notice stated: “Due to unforseen (sic) circumstances P.O. will not be open till Tuesday”.
But on Tuesday, the Post Office remained shut, causing inconvenience to residents wishing to post mail, collect pensions and use other services offered in branch.
A Post Office spokeswoman assured Spotted in Ely that the company hoped to restore services in the city as quickly as possible.
In a statement she said: “Ely Post Office has been closed yesterday and today due to operational reasons.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers.
“We are working hard to restore Post Office service to the current location as quickly as possible.”
She suggested that customers in the meantime used alternative branches, such as the Witchford Post Office or the outreach part time postal services offered at the Little Downham Community Rooms in Main Street.
However, that will offer little comfort to people who don’t drive – especially with the Little Downham branch being temporarily closed this week – and many are speculating as to the reason behind the Ely Post Office’s mysterious closure.
Back in July Spotted in Ely broke the story that the Post Office was advertising for a retailer to take over the running of its Ely branch, after the previous postmaster lost his contract in May, due to “a private contractual matter”.
A new postmaster has still not been found, despite estimated fees in the area ranging between £99,300 to £110,800 per year, and since May, the branch has been operating a reduced service, from 9am to 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday, and has often been chronically short staffed.
A Post Office spokeswoman, said today: “We are looking for a long-term permanent solution for Ely and we are in discussion with interested parties.”
The Market Street Post Office opened its doors in December 2014, offering extended hours and additional services.
Before that had been situated in a portable building in Paradise car park for over a year, until it could be found a permanent home.
Alternative branches in the area:
114 Main Street, Witchford, CB6 2HP. (Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 9am – 1pm and 2 – 5.30pm; Thursday: 9am – 1pm; Saturday: 9am – 12.30pm)
Little Downham Community Rooms, Main Street, Little Downham, CB6 2SX. (Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9am – 1.30pm; Friday: 12am – 1.30pm)