A MUCH-NEEDED post office is expected to return to a Malvern village this summer after plans to build a community store were approved by the district council.
Mark Glossop, chair of the Lower Broadheath Community Shop committee group, had tabled a proposal to open up a shop with a post office on the garden grounds of The Bell Inn on Martley Road for a temporary period of five years.
The application was overwhelmingly supported by residents who believed the new store would ‘greatly benefit’ the community, especially older people.
And planning chiefs have given the thumbs-up for the project which is expected to cost about £75,000.
Once the shop is up and running it is hoped the in-store post office will follow.
“The approval is great news,” said Mr Glossop.
“It means all the support we have from the village has worked and we can now press ahead with the project, raise the funds and open our shop in the summer.”
Coun Douglas Godwin, district councillor for Broadheath, said he was delighted the shop plan was approved and was looking forward to further developments.
“We are now a step further to getting a permanent post office in the area which is desperately needed.”
Lower Broadheath had been without a post office since May last year when the store on Martley Road closed its doors.
This meant villagers had to travel to Worcester city centre or the Moseley Turn in Hallow for a post office service.
A mobile post office was put in place in October on the car park at The Bell Inn but it only operated for three hours a week.
With vital services severely limited a committee was formed so work could begin on trying to open a new village post office and convenience store.
By working with The Plunkett Foundation – the group which helps rural communities to take control of the issues affecting them through community ownership – the committee had been able to put together a business plan for the project.
It also applied for match-funding through the Community Share Booster Scheme and if the application is successful, they could potentially double any money they raise through the sale of shares.
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “I have been a steadfast supporter of the efforts to return a village shop and post office to Lower Broadheath and have been working hard behind the scenes to help smooth the process.
“This latest news is extremely welcome and I stand ready to help the village if needs be.”